Sen. Warner: 'Gang Of Six' Budget Plan Could Gain Broad Support

Originally published on July 19, 2011 5:17 pm

As Mark reported earlier, President Obama threw his weight behind a budget plan that a bi-partisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six" crafted and presented today.

In an interview with NPR's Robert Siegel, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), a member of the gang, said the plan could find support among Republican members of the House of Representatives, who have been adamant about supporting any kind of tax increase.

As Associated Press puts it, the plan cuts the deficit by more than $4 trillion over the next ten years and it accomplishes those savings by closing loop holes in the tax code and by cutting spending, including a repeal of a program called CLASS, which was included in last year's health care reform law.

Warner told Robert that the Gang of Six based the plan on the outline set forth by the Simpson-Bowles Commission report. He said their plan raises revenues through "tax reform" that looks at "tax expenditures, tax loop holes and tax deductions." He said that because the plan lowers the overall tax rates and would result in $1.5 trillion net tax decrease, it will be within the no-tax-hike pledges that the members of the Tea Party have taken.

Warner said the cutting of the CLASS program — which is focused on long-term care for the functionally disabled — would provoke push back from his fellow Democrats.

"There are things in this plan that everybody will like... and there are things that everybody will dislike," he said.

He added: "At the end of the day what the American people need to look at is... will we owe less debt 10 years from now if we have this plan? We will owe $4 trillion less," he said.

Update at 5:01 p.m. ET: Here is full audio of the conversation:

Update at 5:11 p.m. ET. Reaction From Both Sides:

CSPAN reports that Republican and Democratic leaders haven't embraced the plan:

But in statements to the press after their parties' met, neither Senate leader would endorse the plan. Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, "I don't have an opinion yet." While Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said, he wants to be "all encompassing" of the plan, but said he is realistic of the challenges of passing it through two legislative bodies in 13 days, by August 2nd.

The big hurdle to a big deal like this has been the House. And Politico reports that Ways and Means Chairman Rep. David Camp (R-MI) said he "would have a problem with a trillion dollars in new revenue."

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