Senators demand presidential debate on bipartisan fiscal plan

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The Bowles-Simpson plan was released in December 2010 and offered trillions in deficit reduction through a combination of higher tax revenue through tax code simplification, deep cuts to defense and non-defense spending and reforms to Social Security. It did not tackle Medicare reform, the biggest driver of the long-term debt, however. 

Obama ignored the plan for months publicly, but used elements of it in negotiations with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) on a deficit grand bargain in 2011. Romney's plan, released last fall, does not raise net revenue and lowers taxes for the wealthy more dramatically. It contains deeper cuts to spending, and Romney has backed plans to partially privatize Medicare.

All four senators have demonstrated an interest in deficit-reduction deals in this Congress. Chambliss led efforts by the Senate Gang of Six to craft a deficit deal based on Bowles-Simpson. Graham got himself into hot water by backing raising some taxes to stop automatic defense cuts. Lieberman and Pryor expressed support for the Gang of Six efforts last year.