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Coburn, Crapo say yes to debt commission plan


Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo, who sit on President Obama's deficit-reduction commission, will vote in favor of the commission's plan, according to sources.

They will join Sens. Kent Conrad (D) and Judd Gregg (R), who said yesterday they'd also support the package.

Fourteen of the commission's 18 members need to vote yes for the plan to move to Congress. The vote is expected to take place tomorrow.

*** UPDATE *** Here's Strickland's full dispatch:

Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo today announced support for the plan proposed by the president's debt commission. Both senators are voting members of the panel.

"I'm scared to death at the potential that could unwind this country," said Coburn, one of the Senate's most fiscal conservative members.

Crapo said, "Although it's not everything we wanted and contains things that are painful to us and raise heartburn... it takes us down a path of addressing these issues."

Both members said the commissions' proposal are a starting point for reigning in the nation's growing debt. But they agreed that more needs to be done, saying the plan does not cut spending nearly enough.

"If we pass this bill tomorrow, it doesn't get us out of the woods," Coburn said. "There are many more difficult choices we'll have to make."

Still, the senators praised the plan for it's "dramatic" reforms of the tax code and its provisions that yield more tax reductions than increases.

Today's declarations of support follow those yesterday of Democrat Kent Conrad and Republican Judd Gregg. The commission will vote tomorrow and needs the approval of 14 of the 18 members to advance the plan to Congress.

The conventional wisdom among most senators and senior aides has previously been that the group will fail to garner the necessary votes, but today's news appears to breathe life into the plan.

"I'm hopeful that we do get to 14," said Crapo, "it's not out of the question yet."

Coburn said the country is at war on three fronts: Iraq, Afghanistan, "and the financial tsunami that's facing us." He added, "There's not a luxury for politics anymore."