Sarah Binder has a highly useful post over at the Monkey Cage explaining the history of commissions, special committees, and other similar animals. Bottom line: most fail, but this appears to be built to succeed.
As long as I'm on it, I'll point to a summary from yesterday from Ezra Klein, who lists three possible outcomes: "1) there’s no deal and the trigger goes off, 2) the Democrats agree to $1.5 trillion in further spending cuts alongside zero dollars in tax increases, or 3) Republicans agree to revenues." That's right, but I'll that that there is a fourth possibility: they change the rules. That wouldn't be easy; it would require, as far as I can see, actually passing a law to turn the trigger off, which means that the House, the Senate (and most likely a supermajority there), and Barack Obama all agree. That's not especially likely -- but it's certainly possible. As Jonathan Chait argues, there will be plenty of lobbying against the trigger, while reaching some other deal will be just as hard as it's ever been. Something, one way or another, will have to give, and it's worth mentioning that one possibility is backing away from the whole deal.
At any rate, Binder's post about special committees and commissions is excellent and definitely recommended.