12/03/2010 01:06 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

"Bipartisan" Support for Debt Plan Doesn't Mean Much

There isn't much to the idea that the deficit commission's vote represents bipartisanship. What it really shows is that partisanship is alive and well on this panel where it is needed least: House leaders with the most direct responsibility over budgets and taxation.

Of the Republicans lending support to the commission's proposal, they are all either Senators, in industry, or out of office. All three Republican House members on the panel voted 'no,' probably a sign that Republican leaders in the House, much like some of their colleagues like Rep Schakowsky, are disinclined to give up on their priorities for the sake of statesmanship in the common interest.

The overall results, 11 votes in favor of the plan, do show that there are politicians who are serious enough about the long-term budget catastrophe. But while I hate to say it, the foresight is coming mostly from departing members, unelected leaders, and Senators.

As with all major revenue and spending challenges, we need strong House leadership. Given the GOP's insistence on tax cuts for millionaires, deficits be damned, and continuing denial about the stimulative effects of programs like unemployment insurance and food stamps, I doubt we're going to get it. The fiscal commission vote just bolsters that case.