WASHINGTON -- Members of President Obama's deficit commission will vote Friday on a proposal to slash federal spending and rein in the country's debt.
At a press conference on Tuesday, the panel's two co-chairmen, former Bill Clinton adviser Erskine Bowles and former senator Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), promised recommendations similar to what they offered in a controversial draft report announced earlier this month.
"The era of deficit denial in Washington is over," said Bowles, comparing the national debt to a cancer that will destroy the country if it is not dealt with in a timely way. "The plan we submit tomorrow... it's not going to be some watered-down version of the 'chairman's mark,'" he added.
The commission co-chairs drew national ire on Nov. 10 with their fiscally hawkish recommendations, which would, among other things, raise the retirement age and result in higher taxes for millions of middle-class Americans.
"I don't know if we're going to get two votes or five votes or 10 votes or 14 votes," said Simpson. "There are no easy ways out of this deal."
Since the panel would need 14 of its 18 members to agree on a plan before it can receive an up or down vote from Congress, the vote was pushed back to Friday to allow additional time for compromise.
"Our goal has been really simple: To start an adult conversation about the dangers of the deficit we are running," Bowles told reporters. "It is the exact same conversation that every family, every single business, every state and every municipality has been having for the last several years."
The co-chairmen were short on specifics, but they told reporters that the proposal put forward Friday will at least meet Obama's requirement of reducing the deficit by more than $3.8 trillion over the next decade.
"It won't be less," said Bowles.
Members of the commission are expected to receive copies of the new proposal tonight and could start announcing their positions as soon as tomorrow.
President Obama had set a voting deadline of Wednesday, Dec. 1, but Bowles was unapologetic about holding the vote on Friday, Dec. 3.
"Of all the things I'm worried about, I'm not worried about that," he said, when asked by reporters about the deadline.