Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) appears on NBC's "Meet the Press" in Washington in 2011. (William B. Plowman/AP)
I had considered presenting a budget that reflected the general consensus among the Democratic Members of the Committee. However, after considerable consultations with my colleagues, I have determined that would not be the most effective approach. The fact is that many plans have already been offered that lean right or lean left. Adding another to the stack would do little to move us closer to a bipartisan agreement that can actually be adopted.

The Fiscal Commission Budget Plan provides a comprehensive and balanced deficit reduction framework that we can build upon. It is not perfect, but it does represent a middleground, consensus solution to the country’s fiscal imbalance. It brings the deficit down, but does so in a responsible, fair, and balanced way. It protects the most vulnerable. It phases in changes to avoid harming the economy. And it includes savings from across the budget, including from entitlement reform and tax reform that raises revenue while lowering rates.

The proposal “is not perfect,” Conrad warns, “and it needs to be further updated to account for changes that have occurred since it was drafted in 2010.” He promises his committee will have “an extended period” to consider the bill and propose changes.

The House recently rejected a version of the Simpson-Bowles plan, 382-38.