Democratic Sens.-elect Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Tim Kaine of Virginia expressed a willingness Wednesday to work across the aisle with Republicans to restore the nation's middle-class and put the country back on sound economic footing.
"For me, this is not just about parties," Warren said Wednesday during an appearance on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
"I'll work with anyone, and I really do mean that. Democrat, Republican, independent, Libertarian, contrarian, vegetarian — I don't care," she added, smiling.
"That's a big tent, senator," Republican host Joe Scarborough quipped.
"It is a big tent. You bet," Warren replied.
"Because . . . it's about what's happening to our working families, what's happening to America's middle-class."
Warren, who defeated incumbent Republican Scott Brown to retake the seat that had been held for years by the late Sen. Edward M. Kennedy, said she believes that by working together lawmakers can build a country "that works for our families again."
"If we don't make some changes and put some solid ground under their feet, then America as we know it is just gonna fundamentally change. And we just can't let that happen," she said.
Kaine, who defeated Republican rival George Allen to claim the seat of retiring Virginia Democratic Sen. Jim Webb, also expressed an eagerness "to get everybody at the table" to work toward solving the nation's debt crisis and other pressing issues.
"Virginia is a state where we don't register by party. We're sort of independent, so we try to reach out across the spectrum," Kaine, a former governor who also served briefly as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said on "Morning Joe."
Kaine said he learned something about the importance of working across parties a long time ago from his father-in-law, former Republican Gov. Linwood Holton, who served Virginia in the early 70s.
The Kaine-Allen race was one of the most heavily targeted campaigns in the country. Republicans had hoped to retake the seat, which Allen had held for one term until he was defeated in 2006 by Webb. Republican-affiliated super PACs poured $30 million into the race, most of it in the form of negative ads attacking Kaine.
The senator-elect said he hopes to make the issue of unlimited campaign spending one of his top priorities.
"It definitely needs to be changed," he said, adding: "I think I was the second most punched up target in the country after President Obama with respect to secret, super PAC money."
"We need to have, at a minimum, a no secret money rule," he continued. "You shouldn't be able to give to some third party organization and then evade the disclosure requirements that we put in place after Watergate. So that's the first thing I'm signing on."
But Kaine said the most pressing issue is figuring out how to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff" of automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect on Jan. 2.
"Let's avoid the sequester cuts and the expiration of all the Bush tax cuts," he said, noting that his own plan unveiled during the campaign calls for extending the tax cuts for everyone making less than $500,000 a year.
Kaine's proposal also calls for a fix to Medicare that would allow the government to negotiate prescription drug prices. In addition, it would also take away tax subsidies for the big oil companies.
Kaine said doing those three things would "create confidence" in the country's economic outlook and "springboard us into the bigger discussion" of balancing the federal budget.
He said it would take $2 or $3 of cuts for every $1 of revenues to get the job done.
"But we can't fix the balance sheet unless we fix both sides of the balance sheet," he added. "So Both parties are going to have to give."
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