By Erik Wasson - 04/13/11 11:35 PM EDT
Following President Obama's deficit-reduction speech Wednesday, the former chairmen of the president's fiscal commission urged all sides to "pound out" a deal to get U.S. finances in order.
The call by Erskine Bowles and former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) came after Obama's attacks on House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan's (R-Wis.) budget plan prompted angry reactions from Republicans.
"Now is the time for action. We do not have a lot of time to act to avert fiscal calamity. Our nation's leaders need to put politics aside, pull together, not pull apart, and make the difficult choices needed to bring these deficits under control. All leaders in Washington need to work together to pound out a bipartisan agreement on our long-term budgets," they said in a statement.
"Between the President's plan, Chairman Ryan's Plan, and the Commission's Plan, there are plenty of good ideas on the table now," they said.
Obama in his speech moved closer to the plan by the fiscal commission. He called for $4 trillion in deficit cuts over 12 years, up from his 2012 budget that called for $1.1 trillion in savings and which was panned by Bowles and Simpson. Their plan would reduce deficits by $4 trillion by 2020.
"We are encouraged that the President has embraced a balanced, comprehensive approach to deficit reduction similar to that outlined in the Fiscal Commission report. We believe that only an approach which includes all areas of the budget can reach the broad bipartisan agreement necessary to enact a real and responsible deficit reduction plan. The framework he put forward today represents another step forward in the process," they said.
Bowles and Simpson said that they hope much of the bipartisan agreement will be based on the Senate Gang of Six, which is working to put the fiscal commission report into law.
The two men are scheduled to meet President Obama and Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday at the White House.