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Bipartisan powers, activate! Can Congress's debt avengers be superheroes?

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And that’s the group’s main question: What’s going to make it different from all the other herdings of well-meaning, rational, patriotic Americans who have beat their heads against the walls of Congress and the White House to no avail? Simpson-Bowles, after all, was the product of President Obama’s own debt commission – a fact easily forgotten considering the president left the plan largely for dead upon its publication, only to broadly endorse it later on.

But Messrs. Simpson and Bowles have backup. They are joined by Alice Rivlin, the first-ever director of the Congressional Budget Office who, by her own admission, “may have served on more debt commissions than anybody in Washington,” and is half of a duo (the other is former Sen. Pete Dominici (R) of New Mexico) that published a second bipartisan debt reduction plan.

Lawmakers looking for guidance from Wall Street types can look to famed investment banker Peter Peterson on the right or Steven Rattner, Mr. Obama’s auto czar, on the left. Those who want private-sector bona fides can find them in Honeywell chairman and CEO Dave Cote and World Fuel Services chairman and CEO Paul Stebbins. And for that down-the-middle, think tank-y wonkishness, there’s former World Bank chief Robert Zoellick and the president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, Maya McGuineas.

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