Deficit commission has a name, a phone number and a few dates
Updated 6:06 p.m.
By Lori Montgomery
President Obama's Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform may not have a Web site or any other obvious point of access for the public, but as its first meeting draws close, some information about the panel assigned to balance the federal budget is finally beginning to trickle out.
According to a memo distributed to commission members this week by executive director Bruce Reed, Tuesday's meeting will begin with a private, 9:30 a.m. session with President Obama at the White House, then proceed at 10 a.m. in the Truman Room of the White House Conference Center on Lafayette Park.
Each of the commission's 18 members will be permitted to bring a single aide, but other than a press pool, no members of the public will attend the three-hour event. Anybody can watch the events, however, on a live video stream on the White House Web site.
After Tuesday, the commission plans to hold monthly public meetings and to invite the public to submit written comments. The meetings are tentatively set for 9:30 a.m. to noon monthly, on the last Wednesday of May through September, as well as Nov. 10 and Dec. 1, the date President Obama has asked commission members to deliver a plan to stabilize the soaring U.S. debt.
Because the commission is operating on "a shoestring," Reed writes, it has few paid staff members and no money to organize field hearings outside Washington. Instead, the memo says, "we will work with outside organizations to give you additional opportunities to address these issues in your capacity as commissioners. The Peterson Foundation has already asked some of you to take part in a forum on Wednesday, April 28, in Washington. We also have an invitation from the non-partisan organization AmericaSpeaks for members to take part in a nationwide series of electronic town halls on Saturday, June 26."
The commission also has "a small office" on F Street NW, Reed writes, "down the street from the Dubliner and the Irish Times," well-known Capitol Hill watering holes. The Commission's office number is 202-233-3000. And, as of Friday afternoon, operators were, in fact, standing by.
Lori A. Montgomery
April 23, 2010; 5:47 PM ET
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