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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 ChamblissLive coverage: Georgia Senate runoffs Trump, Biden face new head-to-head contest in Georgia Ex-GOP senator from Georgia suffers mild stroke: report 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.

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"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 CoburnConservative group escalates earmarks war by infiltrating trainings Democrats step up hardball tactics in Supreme Court fight COVID response shows a way forward on private gun sale checks MORE (R-Okla.) on the right to Sen. Dick DurbinDick DurbinLawmakers say fixing border crisis is Biden's job Number of migrants detained at southern border reaches 15-year high: reports Grassley, Cornyn push for Senate border hearing 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.