FreedomWorks forming rival debt commission to Obama’s group

Nikki Grey Contributor
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Some Tea Party activists aren’t impressed with President Obama’s debt commission.

So they’re going to form their own.

Countering complaints that the Tea Party movement only calls for cuts without proposing a plan to do so, the Tea Party aligned group FreedomWorks is partnering with grassroots activists from across the country to create a debt commission to address some of the nation’s most pressing problems.

The debt commission’s parameters include balancing the budget within the next 10 years, reducing federal spending to 18 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, reducing the national debt to no more than 66 percent of G.D.P., reducing federal spending by a minimum of $300 billion in the first year and reducing federal spending by no less than $9 trillion over 10 years.

FreedomWorks, a group that educates and mobilizes volunteer activists, announced the formation of the Tea Party Debt Commission Monday. The group had been mulling over the possibility of the commission for months, but after assessing the support from Tea Party activists over the weekend at the FreedomWorks-hosted Grassroots Boot camp 2011, the group decided to form the commission.

“We wanted to market test it with real activists to see how they felt about it, and the response was so overwhelming that we decided to launch it,” Dean Clancy, legislative counsel and vice president in health care policy for FreedomWorks told The Daily Caller. (In budget debate, one senator sees pattern of secret negotiations)

“We will have 18 commissioners, like Obama, but we are actually going to get the job done,” Ryan Hecker, a Tea Party activist from Houston, Texas, said. The commissioners will be selected from swing states and will be responsible for holding hearings this summer.

For the commission, FreedomWorks is also launching a Web site that will provide educational tools, including access to other budget plans such as Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan’s proposed budget, and simple explanations of the information provided for those who do not have time to read all the documents themselves.

The Web site will prompt users to give their own ideas for solutions to the budget crisis. Clancy said that it will enable millions of Americans to vote on the cuts they prefer, something that Tea Party activists are excited about.

“I think the best thing (about the commission) is that the politicians need to listen to the people, and I think that the thing that made the Contract from America so powerful was that the people had real ideas about how to fix this country and this is the next step,” Hecker said. “This is the people coming together and presenting a demanding budget that the politicians have to listen to.” (Tea Partiers storm NRSC offices)

Using crowd-sourcing, hearings overseen by the commissioners, and other tools such as Skype, video conferencing, conference calling and email, the debt commission will take the best ideas from the group on how to solve the nation’s fiscal problems and bring them to Congress in January. Lawmakers will be asked if they support the commission or not, and that decision will presumably influence voters on Election Day.

“I think that we’re going to see a solid, aggressive proposal to do something about the spending problems in Washington,” Clancy said. “The politicians don’t seem to be able to do it themselves, so we will take it upon ourselves and do it for them.”