Conrad hails Obama call for negotiations on deficit

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) welcomed President Obama's call for administration-led talks on a long-term deficit solution.

Conrad has been saying for months that Obama needs to get in front of the issue and lead a summit with leaders of Congress. Obama on Wednesday asked House and Senate leaders to open talks with Vice President Joe Biden on the deficit in May. The goal would be to have a deficit plan in place by June, shortly before the nation's debt ceiling must be raised.

“President Obama set the right spirit and tone in his remarks today. To solve our long-term fiscal crisis, we are going to have to break through the partisanship and gridlock that has taken hold in Washington," Conrad said.

"Democrats and Republicans must be willing to put aside our differences and find common ground.  We need to sit down together with everything on the table and negotiate a comprehensive, balanced and bipartisan long-term deficit and debt reduction plan. The nation’s strength and security depend on it,” he added.

Conrad has been working with five other senators to put the recommendations of the president's fiscal commission into law. The Gang of Six is trying to come to an agreement on a plan by early May.