Warner: Don't play 'Russian roulette' on debt limit

Earlier this month, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner warned of "catastrophic economic consequences" if the $14.3 trillion debt limit was not raised by this spring. However, House GOP leaders want to extract promises to cut government spending in exchange for their support, while House Democrats have indicated the responsibility for approving an increase belongs to the GOP now that they are the new majority.

Warner also called for Congress to get serious about reducing the deficit. He and Sen. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissLobbying world GOP lobbyist tapped for White House legislative affairs The Hill's Morning Report - Gillibrand drops out as number of debaters shrinks MORE (R-Ga.) plan to introduce a bill this Congress based on the report from President Obama's deficit commission.

"It's put up or shut up time," he said. "The single largest long-term threat to our economy...[is] getting the nation's balance sheet in order.


"I think the country's read to step up and it's time for the politicians to follow," he added.

The debt commission's report received bipartisan support from 11 of the panel's members, ranging from Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnInspector general independence must be a bipartisan priority in 2020 Congress must protect federal watchdogs Tom Coburn's annual gift to taxpayers MORE (R-Okla.) on the right to Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Negotiators signal relief bill stuck, not dead White House officials, Democrats spar over legality, substance of executive orders Sunday shows - Trump coronavirus executive orders reverberate MORE (D-Ill.) on the left. The recommendations ultimately failed to advance to a vote in Congress because 14 votes were needed for formal commission backing.

Warner took politicians to task Thursday for failing to make hard choices to get the deficit under control.

"At the end of the day, it's easy for politicians to give tax breaks," he said.

But he also challenged the business community to be willing to make some sacrifices in the comprehensive effort to rein in the federal deficit.

"We won't get this done unless the business community is saying, 'We're in for our share of the hard choices as well,'" he said.