Sen. Mark WarnerMark WarnerElection hacking fears turn heat on Homeland Security Are Democrats trying to pin the blame for their own sins on Russia? Policymakers forget duty to protect taxpayers from financial failures MORE (D-Va.), a member of the Senate Gang of Six budget negotiators, said Sunday on “Face the Nation” that tackling Social Security's solvency remains on the table for the group.

The Gang of Six is attempting to put the December recommendations of the bipartisan fiscal commission into law. Social Security does not contribute to deficit spending since it draws benefits from a separate trust fund, but the fiscal commission sought to ward off a solvency crisis for Social Security after 2037 by raising the retirement age while reducing benefits. 

"Part of this is just math," Warner explained, noting that the ratio of retirees to working-age Americans paying into the Social Security system is changing dramatically.

ADVERTISEMENT
Including Social Security in the Gang of Six package appears to be a concession by Democrats made in exchange for agreement to raise some revenue by Republicans. But liberals in the Senate and House have made clear they will not stand for any cuts to benefits.

The 2012 budget passed by the House on Friday does not include reforms for Social Security. House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanFuneral for the filibuster: GOP will likely lay Senate tool to rest This week: Senate races toward ObamaCare repeal vote GOP’s message on ObamaCare is us versus them MORE (R-Wis.) instead called for a trigger in the budget whereby the president and Congress would have to propose solutions once the Board of Trustees certifies the program is in trouble. Presidet Obama in his 2012 budget and in a speech last week did not lay out plans to reform Social Security.

Warner said the Gang is “very close” to an agreement that includes spending cuts and tax increases.

“We are going to make everybody mad with our approach,” he said.

Warner made clear that he is opposed to the House Republican 2012 budget's reliance on cuts to Medicare — he called it a “massive transfer of responsibility onto our seniors” — but he did not say how the Gang of Six will approach the massive entitlement program.

Warner said that last week's deficit speech by President Obama “laid out his vision, in real stark contrast” to the Ryan plan.

He said that he does not want the past week's speech and reaction by Republicans to distract both sides from compromise.

“What I hope is that this doesn't devolve into Democrats versus Republicans,” he said, noting that that led to an eleventh-hour fight over 2011 spending that he found embarrassing.

There are three Republicans on the Gang of Six: Sens. Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissOPINION: Left-wing politics will be the demise of the Democratic Party GOP hopefuls crowd Georgia special race Democrats go for broke in race for Tom Price's seat MORE (Ga.), Tom CoburnTom Coburn'Path of least resistance' problematic for Congress Freedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC MORE (Okla.) and Mike CrapoMike CrapoOvernight Regulation: Senate Banking panel huddles with regulators on bank relief | FCC proposes 2M fine on robocaller | Yellowstone grizzly loses endangered protection Overnight Finance: Big US banks pass Fed stress tests | Senate bill repeals most ObamaCare taxes | Senate expected to pass Russian sanctions bill for second time All big US banks pass Dodd-Frank stress tests MORE (Idaho); and three Democrats: Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDem senator: GOP's healthcare approach will 'devastate Medicaid' Sunday shows preview: Senate healthcare debate heats up Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity MORE (Ill.), Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Warner.