Deficit commission: Four things both sides may agree on

Key Democrats and Republicans on the commission voiced agreement on some important things during the panel's public meeting Wednesday.

3. Defense cuts on the table

Alex Brandon/AP
Debt Commission co-chairmen Erskine Bowles (l.) and former Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson speak to the media after a meeting of the commission on Capitol Hill on Wednesday.

Defense can't be excluded from spending cuts. The commission's plan, which is set for a Friday vote by the panel's 18 members, calls for dividing discretionary spending into "security" (including homeland security) and "non-security" segments, and cutting both by equal percentages.

It's not clear if all panel members agree on that concept, but both Democrats and Republicans on the commission agreed that the nation's fiscal challenge is so big that no part of the budget can be off limits. That includes "mandatory" spending programs like Medicare, as well as the military component of discretionary spending.

During public discussion on Wednesday, the most vocal concern raised regarding military spending came from Rep. Xavier Becerra (D) of California, who worried that scrutiny of the Department of Defense spending wouldn't be tough enough under the plan.

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