Chambliss, Warner push long-term structural change

Any serious attempt to control the growth of the $14 trillion debt, they said on “Fox News Sunday,” would require changes to tax codes and entitlement programs, as well as cutting government spending. 

"Everybody gets their ox gored a little bit," Chambliss said.

"You’ve got to put everything out there," Warner said. "That means Saxby and I are going to take some arrows."

Warner and Chambliss are working with Republicans Tom Coburn (Okla.) and Mike Crapo (Idaho) and Democrats Kent Conrad (N.D.) and Dick Durbin (Ill.). 

Chambliss said that every faction in Washington would have to be involved if they were to succeed. “At the end of the day, we’re going to have to have a discussion in the room between the White House and the House Republicans and Democrats,” Chambliss said.

The group has met with – and tried to bring on board – a wider ranger of lawmakers. It has not released a specific set of proposals nor does it have a target date to do so. But on Sunday, Warner said something had to be done before the end of the year. 

“If we get into next year, you’re into the presidential year, and this whole issue will probably be punted until 2013,” he said. “We may not have that long a time until the financial markets say, ‘We no longer want to buy American debt’ or charge such a high interest rate on it that it would have a negative effect on the economy.”

On taxes, Chambliss said the raising rates wasn’t a necessary first step toward raising more money.

“What our proposal does is to reduce the effective and direct tax rates all the way across the board,” he said. “And we do that by making a significant reform in the tax code. Every time we’ve made a reform in the tax code ... we’ve seen a reduction in rates and increase in revenue.”

For Social Security, Warner said that the program would survive, although the retirement age will have to be raised over time. 

“What our proposal puts out is not taking Social Security proceeds any longer and paying off the deficit, it’s saying let’s make sure Social Security is solvent for the next 75 years.” Warner said.