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UPDATE: Sen. Coburn Supports Debt Commission Plan (Dec 02, 2010)

WASHINGTON (AP) - Two of the Senate's most conservative Republicans have swung behind a controversial deficit-slashing plan by the leaders of President Barack Obama's debt commission.

The support from Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) and Mike Crapo (R-ID) means that the plan to cut the deficit by almost $4 trillion over the coming decade is likely to win a majority of the panel's 18 members. But it's still expected to fall short of the high bar of 14 votes required to be officially endorsed.

Coburn and Crapo say that the deficit problem is too great to put off action until after the next election and that if lawmakers don't act now they will have to face far more painful choices later. House Republicans are likely to oppose the plan because of its tax hikes.

Members of the commission, including Coburn, expressed their opinions on the plan Wednesday (hear Coburn’s remarks by clicking on the audio link below). The plan proposed by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson faces resistance from many commission members, especially those who are elected officials.

It suggests reducing Social Security benefits, raising the retirement age, curtailing tax breaks and other politically explosive ideas for getting the national debt under control.

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