Udall: Social Security reform 'should be on the table'

Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) on Thursday said Congress should consider all of the proposals coming from President Obama's fiscal commission, including the controversial proposals to reform Social Security.

In a phone interview with The Hill, Udall said the 50-page proposal released Wednesday by former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.), the chairmen of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, should be seriously considered even though "none of them are going to be very popular."

The Bowles-Simpson proposals include cutting federal spending, reducing Social Security benefits and reining in healthcare costs.

"These are the kinds of ideas we need to hear," Udall said. "This is going to be a very painful process. But we must bring down the deficit and the debt, and everything needs to be on the table. That’s where it should start, and we should try to build consensus. In the past, the way we’ve gotten out of these situations has been for all sides to give a little."

Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) also released a statement Thursday that thanked Bowles and Simpson but simply called their recommendations "a starting point."

"While I don't agree with every one of their recommendations, what they have provided is a starting point for this important discussion. I look forward to the full commission's recommendations and to working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to address this important issue," Reid said.