Senators Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Mark Warner (D-VA) Talk Bipartisan Budget Cuts

There’s an article in today’s Politico about how Senators Saxby Chambliss and Mark Warner are trying to come together in a bipartisan fashion and wrangle the bloated federal budget:

“If we put this off, we are approaching financial Armageddon,” Warner said. “We don’t need another study, we need to start.”

Though there is no way to eliminate the country’s $14 trillion debt in a single shot, the Obama administration and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle must come together, the senators said. Their event in Richmond was the first of at least two town halls – the other scheduled for next month in Atlanta – aimed at generating public support for the politically risky step of proposing substantial reductions in spending on entitlement programs, including Social Security and Medicare.

“For a Republican to put revenues on the table is significant. For a Democrat to put entitlements on the table is significant,” Chambliss said. “The only way we’re going to solve this problem is to have a dialogue about all these issues, because there is no silver bullet.”

The fact is that the Senate is still controlled by the Democrats, so the Republicans will have to stand strong on principles but work with the Democrats if we’re to get anything accomplished.  We must cut government spending, and I hope we can resist the urge to raise taxes.  I’m interested to see what comes out of this.

Once we get word about when the town hall in Atlanta will be, we’ll pass that information along so you can air thoughts about the plan to your Senator.

27 comments

  1. Calypso says:

    Though it pains me to admit it, my respect for Chambliss has been climbing in the past several months, but please, don’t tell anyone I said that.

  2. Lawton Sack says:

    I think the reality of our debt crisis is finally making its way to D.C. Both sides are realizing the need to work together to make some tough decisions. It would be nice if the phone lines for the offices of Chambliss and Warner were tied up with callers in support of their efforts, just the same way they are tied up when people are in opposition.

  3. Harry says:

    Any reduction of social security/Medicare benefits should be accompanied by a reduction in federal employee pension/benefits.

  4. gcp says:

    We need to hear specific cuts from these politicians, not more general talk about cutting the budget.

  5. TPNoGa says:

    I think we should just bite the bullet and raise the retirement age to 70 or 72. That should save a pretty good chunk of money.

        • John Konop says:

          Social Security is fine with few small tweaks, the big problem is Medicare, VA…….. If we do not bend the cost curve of healthcare rising way faster than GDP we cannot fix the problem private or public.

          • Three Jack says:

            “Social Security is fine with few small tweaks, the big problem is Medicare, VA….”

            really, ss is fine, just a few tweaks here and there…come on, you’re reading from the dem soundbite list written by dick durbin.

            the real problem is with folks like yourself who want to punish retired military personnel who rely upon the va and seniors who have been forced to contribute to medicare for years. these folks earned their so-called entitlements. meanwhile you give a free pass to the generations of leeches who live off of taxpayers via medicaid, welfare, wic, schip, etc.

            • John Konop says:

              If you would actually study the problem instead getting your news from talk radio you would understand that you are flat out wrong.

              (CNNMoney.com) – Reforming Social Security is still a hot-button issue. But relative to other measures needed to stabilize U.S. debt, it should be a snap.

              “They could begin with Social Security, which oddly enough has gone from being the ‘third rail of American politics’ to the low-hanging fruit,” wrote Robert Bixby, director of the Concord Coalition, a nonpartisan, grassroots deficit watchdog group.
              While a Social Security fix would cure only a small part of the country’s long-term fiscal shortfall, it could pay big dividends in terms of the U.S. standing internationally, deficit hawks say. “It would be a confidence builder with our foreign lenders,” said Pete Peterson at a recent fiscal summit organized by his foundation, the Peter G. Peterson Foundation.

              That could lessen the risk of a big rise in interest rates and buy the country more time to handle other debt-related issues, such tax and budget reform and further changes in Medicare.

              A report from the Congressional Budget Office in March estimated that starting this year, Social Security will for the first time take in less revenue than it must pay out in benefits.

              http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2010/05/11/fixing-social-security-the-low-hanging-fruit/

              • Three Jack says:

                john, the standard bs line about talk radio does not engender an ‘adult conversation’. you said ss could be fixed with a few tweaks. then you post an op-ed piece from cnn as a factual defense of the position while attacking me for the perceived fault of listening to opinion based talk radio. hmmmm. (btw, you should read your own reference op-ed that correctly points out “starting this year, Social Security will for the first time take in less revenue than it must pay out in benefits.”).

                you say “the problem is medicare, va….”. prove it. medicaid costs almost $400b annually, totally funded by redistributed wealth and loans from foreign countries. medicare is a forced contribution program, the va is an earned benefit for at least 2 decades of truly under compensated military service. it is beyond belief that any person could consider freeloaders above those who have paid for promised services through taxes and volunteer service to this country.

                • John Konop says:

                  TJ,

                  …. then you post an op-ed piece from cnn as a factual defense of the position….

                  Your response was comical for anyone who knows anything about economics; seriously Pete Peterson is a highly respected fiscal conservative icon.

                  Peter G. Peterson (born June 5, 1926) is an American businessman, investment banker, fiscal conservative, author, and politician whose most prominent political position was as United States Secretary of Commerce from February 29, 1972, to February 1, 1973 under Richard Nixon. He is most well-known currently as founder and principal funder of The Peter G. Peterson Foundation, which he established in 2008 with a $1 billion endowment. The group advocates for reductions in federal deficits and debt, through redirection of Social Security funds and cuts in federal entitlement programs.[1]……

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_George_Peterson

                  • Three Jack says:

                    nice dodge konop, at least you are consistent in your avoidance of ‘adult conversation’.

  6. saltycracker says:

    Lots of bullet points
    Term limits, no pensions for elected
    Public worker pension reform
    Foreign aid one country at a time
    Medical health insurance thru state regulated private exchanges
    Reduce foreign military bases
    Immigration reform, set stds, log in , work visas, send rest home
    Drug reform -define, legalize, control, tax – distinguish between a health issue and a crinal issue
    Tort teform
    Stop subsidies below taxes paid
    Eliminate many fed agencies
    Overhaul the tax codes – drastically- too much to cover it here

  7. Three Jack says:

    it’s good to see at least discussion about a real overhaul in how govt collects and spends taxpayer money. but i am weary of the participants in the discussion based on past performance. any fiscal committee/gang that includes dick durbin has to be taken with a certain amount of skepticism.

  8. Charlie says:

    Former New Hampshire Senator Judd Gregg was guest host on CNBC this morning. He talked extensively about the (God I wish they would stop calling it a) Gang of 6, lead by Chambliss. Mentioned Chambliss quite a bit. He’s the Republican point man on deficit reduction in the Senate at the moment, as best I can tell.

    The main point, and some reason for optimism here, is that the meetings are no longer 6 Senators, but average between 35 and 40. A consensus is emerging within the Senate that the budget deficit is unsustainable and a very real threat to our country as we know it.

    Gregg also pointed out the obvious, and that is the President has to lead on this issue. That means working with Congress on firm ideas and plans. He and his administration are too passive in their approach to this issue. He needs to roll up his sleeves and commit to a plan of action.

    • Three Jack says:

      the problem for the president starts with his basic belief that government must be all things to all people. it will be difficult for him to offer leadership that might accomplish the opposite of his core beliefs…best for bho to stick with doing nothing as it seems he is very good at it.

    • “A consensus is emerging within the Senate that the budget deficit is unsustainable and a very real threat to our country as we know it.”

      The only pattern that has emerged is that the minority party is always the party that sees a “real threat” as a reason to reduce the size and/or scope of the federal government and the majority party sees “real threats” as a reason to increase it.

      If only the minority party was in charge we’d have less government and more freedom… lower taxes, school choice, equal ballot access, we could let the free market reign (even on Sundays), we could get government out of our personal lives on matters that doesn’t involve others, like medical decisions, marriage, and even what we put in our own bodies in the privacy of our own homes… if only the “other” party was in charge we’d get our wishes…. yea, right.

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