UPDATE 1-US deficit panel may postpone decision-Schakowsky

* Commission lacks 14 votes for final plan – Schakowsky

* White House says VP Biden lunches with Bowles, Simpson

* White House spokesman defers questions to commission
(Adds Schakowsky, Gibbs comments, background, byline)

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Nov 30 (BestGrowthStock) – A presidential commission
that is expected to vote later this week on a plan to balance
the U.S. budget and cut the deficit may postpone its decision,
commission member Representative Jan Schakowsky said on
Tuesday.

“There’s a possibility always of postponing the decision.
I’ve been asked what my availability is for Friday. I don’t
know if that means one more day or more days,” Schakowsky, a
Democrat, told Reuters in an interview.

Asked if the commission has the 14 votes needed among the
18 members to support its fiscal austerity plan, a threshold
that would trigger a congressional vote on it, Schakowsky said:
“I don’t see that, no, at least not right now.”

She said the co-chairmen of the panel, set up in February
by President Barack Obama, were still working on Tuesday to
nail down support for a revised version of a sweeping
deficit-reduction plan they unveiled on Nov. 10.

“The co-chairs are shopping this around to see … how many
votes they could get, thinking that a majority — 10 votes —
might have some force behind it,” she said.

“There also may be some sort of decision to just trim the
goal, that is, rather than having a comprehensive 20-year
deficit (and) debt reduction plan, find more like a laundry
list of things we can agree on that would set us in the right
direction,” she said.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs confirmed a report that
Vice President Joseph Biden had lunch on Tuesday with the
commission co-chairmen, former Republican Senator Alan Simpson
and Erskine Bowles, chief of staff for former Democratic
President Bill Clinton.

Gibbs was asked in a briefing with reporters about the
panel having trouble reaching agreement and possibly seeking to
delay to Friday its deadline for issuing a final plan. A vote
was originally expected Wednesday.

“I would point you to the commission and their staff to
answer that question. I don’t know definitively the answer to
that,” Gibbs said.
(Additional reporting by Caren Bohan and Donna Smith; Editing
by Padraic Cassidy)

UPDATE 1-US deficit panel may postpone decision-Schakowsky