The awful idea is for Congress to divest itself of the core competence that the Constitution vests in it -- the power to make the taxing and spending choices that shape the nation. This power would be given to an 18-member panel assigned to solve the budgetary crisis.
Under legislation drafted by Sens. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) and Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), and endorsed by 33 other senators, the Bipartisan Task Force for Responsible Fiscal Action would be composed of 16 members of Congress (four each selected by the House speaker and minority leader, and the Senate majority and minority leaders) plus the Treasury secretary and someone the president selects. The panel would propose spending cuts and tax increases to put the government on a glide path to solvency. The menu of proposals would be guaranteed an up-or-down vote -- no amendments permitted -- in both houses of Congress.
I've got a better idea. How about if the legislature actually does its job instead of engaging in political machinations that expand the size and scope of the federal government while making it more difficult to hold it accountable?
Senators Judd Gregg and Kent Conrad: two of a hundred reasons to repeal the 17th Amendment.