Gang of Six members: Super committee can still ‘go big’

By Olga Belogolova

October 31, 2011

Sens. Mark Warner, D-Va., and Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., leaders of the bipartisan "Gang of Six," on Monday continued to push a "go big" $4 trillion deficit reduction plan, instead of the $1.2 trillion the super committee has been tasked with cutting. Such a plan would have to include a variety of measures including spending reductions and tax and entitlement reform, they said.

"The fact of the matter is, you can't do this with just reducing spending, you can't do it with just reforming entitlements, and you can't just do it on the revenue side. It takes a combination of all three," Chambliss said on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "And the more you're involved in it like [Nancy] Pelosi and [John] Boehner have been over the last several weeks, the more you realize that."

Warner and Chambliss, along with other Gang of Six members, earlier this month presented a plan to the super committee to cut nearly $4 trillion from the deficit over 10 years. The plan recommends several approaches, including reducing both security and nonsecurity discretionary spending, enacting some Medicare reforms, and reforming the U.S. tax code to gain about $1 trillion in added revenues. Forty-five senators and about 100 House members have since endorsed all or part of the plan.

Chambliss said he has been "encouraged" by what he has heard, and Warner said that that he thinks "chances are actually improving" for the super committee to "go big."

When industry groups on both sides "start squawking," Warner said, "that'll be the best indication around if the super committee's getting close."

"This debt battle has almost become a proxy for whether our democratic institutions are up to the job," Warner added.

Chambliss and Warner both said that President Obama needs to be involved.

"I wish he had spent the first three months of this year, frankly, just educating the American people and all of us about some of these choices. Some of this is just math," Warner said.

"He is the chief executive of the United States, and we're not going to solve this without the involvement of the chief executive," Chambliss said.

By Olga Belogolova

October 31, 2011