The bipartisan “Gang of Six” in the Senate is circulating a letter asking other senators to endorse the “basic direction” of the budget plan the bipartisan group advanced this week. Although it is not clear how many senators have signed, indications are that it could be as many as 15.
President Barack Obama endorsed the plan to cut the budget deficit by $3.7 trillion with a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. Although House Republican leaders indicated a willingness to consider the proposal, they and other members of their caucus stress their opposition to a debt compromise that includes more taxes.
obtained a copy of the letter, which says:
“Dear Majority Leader Reid and Republican Leader McConnell
“This is an enormously important and perilous time for our nation. The decisions we make now about how and when to address our debt and deficit problems will have profound repercussions for our way of life and standing in the world now and for generations to come. In light of the profound challenges we face, the “Gang of 6” has produced a framework that provides a bipartisan, comprehensive and balanced way to put our nation on a stable fiscal path.
“None of the choices we face are easy, and each of us comes to this process with our own concerns and priorities. We also realize that none of us can address those concerns or protect our priorities if we fail to act in a bipartisan manner and are willing to forge a responsible agreement that recognizes we must place everything on the table.
“The plan strikes the necessary balance between spending cuts, tax and entitlement reform, and enforcement to constrain future spending. The plan would:
- “Slash our nation’s deficits by $3.7 trillion/$3.6 trillion over ten years under CBO’s March2011 baseline, or $4.65 trillion/$4.5 trillion under the original fiscal commission baseline (which used the President’s 2011 budget request as the starting point for discretionary spending);
- Stabilize our publicly-held debt by 2014;
- Reduce our publicly-held debt to roughly 70% of our economy by 2021; and
- Impose unprecedented budget enforcement. This is a plan that can unite Republicans, Democrats and Independents. It would give committees of jurisdiction clear instructions and an opportunity to refine the choices we must make.
“It is our strong belief that this plan can not only serve as a template for addressing this crisis, but would allow the Congress to work, and reignite our troubled economy by providing the leadership and certainty the American people expect and deserve from us.”
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