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Ex-Treasury Sec.: 'Gang of Six' Plan 'Constructive'

Wednesday, 20 Jul 2011 01:49 PM

 

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 The so-called “Gang of Six” plan in the Senate is a “very constructive start” to reducing the deficit and solving the debt-ceiling crisis, said former U.S. Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers.

“It’s got a long way to go,” Summers, a professor at Harvard University, said of the proposal in an interview with Bloomberg Television’s “In Business” with Margaret Brennan. “There’s a lot that needs to be worked out underneath that plan.”

Summers is an economic advisor in the Obama administration and served as Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton.

President Barack Obama endorsed the bipartisan plan in the Senate to cut the budget deficit by $3.7 trillion by using a combination of spending cuts and tax increases. While 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.

Summers called the plan “a remarkably constructive effort at bipartisanship, at ambition, at balance in terms of both expenditures and revenues and tax reform -- those are very favorable developments.”

Obama said he will renew talks at the White House this week with congressional leaders as the Democratic-led Senate and Republican House pursue divergent paths toward ending the stalemate over lifting the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit. If lawmakers don’t raise the ceiling by Aug. 2, the U.S. will default on some of its obligations, according to the Treasury Department.

“If you look at the fine print there’s an element there of having a plan to have a plan,” Summers, 56, said of the “Gang of Six” proposal in an earlier interview today on CNBC Television.

“No one should suppose that this agreement on procedures in the Senate means we’re there, or that we can breathe easily, or get rid of the knots in our stomach about the debt limit passing, but it’s an important first step,” he told CNBC.


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