Simpson-Bowles 2.0

The leaders of a bipartisan panel that unsuccessfully pushed forward a deficit reduction plan last year are quietly meeting behind the scenes to lay the ground work for another push after the November elections, according to an August 17 report in the National Journal:

A crowd of ex-politicians and business executives, led by former Sens. Judd Gregg, R-N.H., and Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles have been working behind closed doors on Simpson-Bowles 2.0.

If all goes well, this updated deficit-reduction plan, with fresh new segments on health care policy and taxes, will be unveiled after the election, when Congress confronts the fiscal cliff and must decide the fate of trillions of dollars in expiring tax provisions and spending cuts.

Amidst the expected chaos, the re-launch of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform proposal, as it is properly known, could become the de facto template

… To build support for the plan, Gregg and Bowles have met with a bipartisan group of roughly 40 senators who are wrestling with the end-of-the-year tax and spending questions. The group has hosted discussions and dinners with think-tank scholars from the Concord Coalition and the American Enterprise Institute, as well as with roughly 100 executives from Fortune 500 companies.

The list of outside organizations that have been met with is worrisome, since each has rightward leanings on federal budget and tax issues. Such meetings should incorporate a broader set of stakeholders if the goal is a balanced, bipartisan plan.

This post has been updated.

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