Conrad happy to see broader deficit discussion

“I see it as a very healthy broadening of the discussion,” said Conrad, who is working on long-term budget deficits with the so-called Gang of Six, a bipartisan group of senators who are using the fiscal commission’s report as a basis for potential legislation.

Earlier Wednesday, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), who heads up messaging for Senate Democrats, asked for a sort of do-over in the spending debate, saying lawmakers should consider an “all of the above” approach to reining in the deficit.

Conrad said that message dovetailed with the approach of his group, asserting that deficit reduction would have to include tax and entitlement reform and calling the current approach of concentrating on certain parts of discretionary spending too limited.

“The commission concluded long ago: You cannot deal with the problem that is facing the country dealing just with 12 percent of the budget,” Conrad said. “You’ve got to broaden it out.”