By Peter Schroeder - 02/14/11 02:23 PM EST
Conrad used the president's budget to urge both sides of the aisle to get real about fixing the budget and find a way to work together on the pressing issue.
"What is needed is bipartisan recognition that we must face up to budget realities, and that compromise is essential to the financial security of our country," he said. "Both sides have to be willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground."
He once again advocated for a comprehensive package, like the one put forward by the president's debt commission.
Conrad said any serious package would have to include spending cuts, changes to entitlement programs like Social Security and comprehensive tax reform that would simplify the tax code while lowering rates and raising more revenue.
The administration estimates that the president's $3.7 trillion budget request, being unveiled Monday, would reduce the deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade. Two-thirds of that reduction would come from cuts to discretionary spending, after President Obama called for a five-year freeze in that sector in his State of the Union address. Savings to programs like Medicare and the lower interest payments on debt that come from reduced spending also count toward those savings.
Tax increases would cover the remaining third of the deficit reduction.