I have an op-ed in the Dec. 3 Raleigh (NC) News and Observer that argues that we need to go ahead and hash out a long term plan to move toward a balanced budget now, before a debt-driven financial crisis forces us to act. The Deficit Commission report was approved 11 to 7, but required 14 yes votes to trigger a guaranteed vote in the House and Senate. However, it is not clear to me exactly how this would have worked because the plan has not been put into legislative language.
There was more bipartisan agreement in voting for the plan, with Republicans Crappo, Gregg and Coburn joining Conrad and Durbin in voting for the measure, with only Baucus voting no. All 3 House Republicans voted no, as did Rep. Schakowsky.
The next big question is whether the President will put some of these policies in his budget, which would serve to keep attention on the issue of addressing our long term fiscal problems.