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WASHINGTON -- Determined to have a deficit commission with or without Congress' backing, President Obama plans to announce on Thursday that he is establishing a panel similar to -- although weaker than-- the one lawmakers rejected.
The deficit spiked to an extraordinary $1.4 trillion last year and could top that figure this year as the struggling economy puts a big dent in tax revenues. Even worse from the perspective of economists and deficit hawks, the medium-term deficit picture is for deficits to hit around $1 trillion a year for the foreseeable future.
Obama and his economic team have said repeatedly that this is not sustainable. He told lawmakers during his State of the Union address that he would go around their vote and appoint a version of a deficit commission.
That idea crashed in the Senate, defeated by equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans -- some of whom initially supported the idea.