Sens. Saxby ChamblissSaxby ChamblissWyden hammers CIA chief over Senate spying Cruz is a liability Inside Paul Ryan’s brain trust MORE (R-Ga.) and Mark WarnerMark WarnerReport: Senate Intel Committee asks agencies to keep records related to Russian probe Comey meets Intel senators amid uproar over Trump-Russia ties Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (D-Va.) on Monday said they will introduce a bill early next year based on the report from President Obama’s deficit commission.
Warner and Chambliss have been meeting with a group of 18 senators on finding a way to balance the budget, and said they have concluded the debt commission's proposal is the best basis for bipartisan talks.
The debt commission's report received bipartisan support from 11 of the panel's members, ranging from Sen. Tom CoburnTom CoburnCoburn: Trump's tweets aren't presidential The road ahead for America’s highways Rethinking taxation MORE (R-Okla.) on the right to Sen. Dick DurbinDick Durbin McConnell: I’m very sympathetic to 'Dreamers' Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Dem senators call for independent Flynn probe MORE (D-Ill.) on the left. The recommendations ultimately failed to advance to a vote in Congress because 14 votes were needed for formal commission backing.
Despite the failed vote, Warner and Chambliss want to use the debt commission's work as a starting point for deficit talks in Congress. The senators said they expect their legislation to evolve as they seek supporters from both parties, but they said the final plan will reflect the commission’s goals of balancing the budget by 2035 by bringing spending down to 21 percent of gross domestic product.
“We are not going to fix it in the short term,” Chambliss said. “There is no silver bullet … you’ve got to put everything on the table.”
Chambliss and Warner also said they back the debt commission’s recommendation for gradual spending cuts in order to preserve the economic recovery.
House Speaker-designate John BoehnerJohn BoehnerFormer House leader Bob Michel, a person and politician for the ages Former House GOP leader Bob Michel dies at 93 Keystone pipeline builder signs lobbyist MORE (R-Ohio) is seeking to cut $100 billion in discretionary spending in 2011, which would be one of the largest single-year spending cuts in history.
Warner said that it makes sense to take short-term actions to stimulate the economy, such as the tax-cut package that was negotiated by President Obama, even as lawmakers look for a long-term deficit strategy.
“We can walk and chew gum at the same time,” Warner said.
Chambliss said it will be important to agree on a deficit plan in the next 12 months so that implementation can begin shortly after the 2012 election. This would give lawmakers a buffer from the possible political fallout from approving spending cuts.
Both senators agree with the debt commission’s plan to eliminate tax breaks in order to lower tax rates. Chambliss in the past has backed the elimination of the income tax in favor of a national sales tax. He did not say whether he is insisting on that approach as part of the Chambliss-Warner bill.
Chambliss said the vote on the nation’s debt ceiling next spring provides an opportunity to advance deficit legislation. Warner said the debt ceiling or agreement on spending legislation, once the continuing resolution being voted on by the Senate on Tuesday expires, would be another opportunity. That CR would expire March 4.
Chambliss acknowledged that the bill will be an enormous piece of legislation, especially if it tackles entitlement reform. The commission's plan cut some benefits for Social Security and Medicare while increasing payroll taxes in order to make Social Security permanently solvent.
Maya MacGuineas of the New America Foundation, who has been working with the senators on the bill, said they plan to have it introduced in January. "This is the first time in so many years that there has been real leadership on this issue," she said in praise of the effort. MacGuineas said there in no way that President Obama's State of the Union address will fail to deal with the debt issue and the debt ceiling and CR extension provide excellent hooks to have a plan adopted.
In Dec. 14 floor speeches, 16 members of the Warner-Chambliss group spoke in praise of the debt commission plan. Speaking were Sens. Roger WickerRoger WickerPruitt confirmation sets stage for Trump EPA assault Price huddles with Senate GOP on ObamaCare Net neutrality fix faces hard sell MORE (R-Miss.), Jon TesterJon TesterGOP loses top Senate contenders Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Schumer tries to keep the peace as Sanders speaks out MORE (D-Mont.), Mike JohannsMike JohannsTo buy a Swiss company, ChemChina must pass through Washington Republican senator vows to block nominees over ObamaCare co-ops Revisiting insurance regulatory reform in a post-crisis world MORE (R-Neb.), Ron WydenRon WydenTech, advocacy groups slam DHS call to demand foreign travelers' passwords Dem bill would force Border Patrol agents to get warrants before searching devices Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order MORE (D-Ore.), Mike CrapoMike CrapoTime for the feds to deregulate gun suppressors Senate votes to repeal transparency rule for oil companies Live coverage of Sessions confirmation hearing MORE (R-Idaho), Kay HaganKay HaganLinking repatriation to job creation Former Sen. Kay Hagan in ICU after being rushed to hospital GOP senator floats retiring over gridlock MORE (D-N.C.), Jim RischJim RischRyan tries to save tax plan Senate GOP votes to silence Warren after speech against Sessions Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (R-Idaho), Mark UdallMark UdallElection autopsy: Latinos favored Clinton more than exit polls showed Live coverage: Tillerson's hearing for State The rise and possible fall of the ‘Card’ in politics MORE (D-Colo.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderOvernight Healthcare: Trump officials weigh fate of birth control mandate | House, DOJ seek delay in ObamaCare lawsuit House, Justice Department ask for delay in ObamaCare lawsuit Top lawmakers from both parties: 'Vaccines save lives' MORE (R-Tenn.), Michael BennetMichael BennetSenate advances Trump's Commerce pick Senate Dems move to nix Trump's deportation order Senators to Trump: We support additional Iran sanctions MORE (D-Colo.), Bob CorkerBob CorkerRepublicans play clean up on Trump's foreign policy GOP Congress unnerved by Trump bumps Trump makes nuclear mistake on arms control treaty with Russia MORE (R-Tenn.), Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.), Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharDrug importation from other countries will save dollars and lives Top antitrust senators call for Sessions to scrutinize AT&T-Time Warner merger Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick MORE (D-Minn.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonSenate advances Trump's Commerce pick CMS nominee breezes through confirmation hearing Net neutrality fix faces hard sell MORE (D-Fla.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDem: Trump's China trademark looks like a quid pro quo Senate advances Trump's Commerce pick Flynn told FBI he didn't talk sanctions with Russian envoy: report MORE (D-Calif.) and Mark BegichMark BegichThe future of the Arctic 2016’s battle for the Senate: A shifting map Trump campaign left out of Alaska voter guide MORE (D-Alaska).