Defying expectations, a bipartisan majority of President Barack Obama's deficit commission has rallied behind the panel's controversial deficit-slashing proposals.
A key Obama ally, liberal Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, endorsed the plan Thursday night, joining two of the Senate's most conservative Republicans.
The plan now has public commitments of support from a majority of the 18-member commission, but it still will fall short of the 14 votes needed to officially adopt it when the deficit-cutting panel votes on Friday.
Among its many contentious provisions, the plan would raise the Social Security retirement age and scale back popular tax deductions on health insurance and mortgage interest.
Commission co-chairmen Erskine Bowles, who was chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, and former Wyoming GOP Sen. Alan Simpson have labored on the deficit issue for months, keeping all but the most partisan members involved in the commission's work. Gaining the support of Durbin, a key Obama ally, was a major development.
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