By Erik Wasson - 12/20/10 07:10 PM EST
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 WarnerTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Democratic National Convention event calendar Liberal group: Kaine could be 'disastrous' VP 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 CoburnRyan calls out GOP in anti-poverty fight The Trail 2016: Words matter Ex-Sen. Coburn: I won’t challenge Trump, I’ll vote for him MORE (R-Okla.) on the right to Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinSyria activists cheer Kaine pick Democratic National Convention event calendar Opioid package clears key Senate hurdle 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 BoehnerDem drops out of race for Boehner's old seat Conservative allies on opposite sides in GOP primary fight Clinton maps out first 100 days 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 WickerMcAuliffe: I wouldn't want a 'caretaker' in Kaine's Senate seat Top GOP senator: Trump will have little effect on Senate races GOP senators to donors: Stick with us regardless of Trump MORE (R-Miss.), Jon TesterJon TesterSenate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency Bayh jumps into Indiana Senate race Six senators call on housing regulator to let Congress finish housing finance reform 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 WydenThe Hill's 12:30 Report Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Dems push for US, EU cooperation on China's market status MORE (D-Ore.), Mike CrapoMike CrapoGOP warming up to Cuba travel Ann Coulter: VP pick is Trump's first mistake Overnight Finance: Freedom Caucus moves to impeach IRS chief | Calls for US-UK trade talks | Clinton ally offers trade for Trump tax returns MORE (R-Idaho), Kay HaganKay HaganDemocratic National Convention event calendar 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 Senate Republicans are feeling the 'Trump effect' MORE (D-N.C.), Jim RischJim RischRepublicans root for Pence as VP Senate votes for energy bill negotiations with House GOP senators: Revoke security clearances for Clinton and her staffers MORE (R-Idaho), Mark UdallMark UdallColorado GOP Senate race to unseat Dem incumbent is wide open Energy issues roil race for Senate Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (D-Colo.), Lamar AlexanderLamar AlexanderGOP senators to donors: Stick with us regardless of Trump Overnight Healthcare: Mysterious new Zika case | Mental health bill in doubt | Teletraining to fight opioids Hopes dim for mental health deal MORE (R-Tenn.), Michael BennetMichael BennetMcAuliffe: I wouldn't want a 'caretaker' in Kaine's Senate seat Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Bacteria found ahead of Olympics underscores need for congressional action for new antibiotics MORE (D-Colo.), Bob CorkerBob CorkerTrump starts considering Cabinet Trump's secret weapon is Ivanka Senate Dems introduce Iran sanctions extension MORE (R-Tenn.), Jean Shaheen (D-N.H.), Amy KlobucharAmy Klobuchar Clinton's court shortlist emerges Tim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense Senate Dems push Obama for more Iran transparency MORE (D-Minn.), Bill NelsonBill NelsonTim Kaine backs call to boost funding for Israeli missile defense More automakers admit to equipping new cars with defective airbags GOP warming up to Cuba travel MORE (D-Fla.), Dianne FeinsteinDianne FeinsteinDems urge Obama to release info on Russian links to DNC hack Hotel lobby cheers scrutiny on Airbnb GOP platform attempts middle ground on encryption debate MORE (D-Calif.) and Mark BegichMark BegichSenate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (D-Alaska).