Sen. Conrad: Bipartisan budget gang has 'very important' meeting set for Tuesday

A group of six senators hashing out a bipartisan plan on deficit and debt reduction will meet for "very important" discussions on Tuesday, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) said Monday.

Conrad, the chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said that they've reached no agreement on a proposal, and that Tuesday's meeting would be crucial to determining how much progress could be made.

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"We'll meet again tomorrow morning. It's a little hard to say — we don't have an agreement," Conrad said on MSNBC. "Nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to. Tomorrow's meeting is very important."

The "Gang of Six" includes four members of President Obama's fiscal commission — Conrad and Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) — and two other senators, Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.). The group has been working now for "weeks," Conrad said, and is considering all options for deficit and debt reduction.

"We will know a lot better tomorrow what progress we're making," Conrad said. "We have really a comprehensive review tomorrow morning."

The top Democrat on budget issues, Conrad said it would take the group more time to come to some final conclusions. He also said the group was developing two proposals.

"We've really got two approaches. One is along the lines of the fiscal commission," Conrad explained. "The other is a backup plan to encourage Congress to adopt a comprehensive plan — real consequences if Congress fails."


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