Prospects for fiscal reform efforts by the “Gang of Six” senators were left uncertain after one of the Republicans, Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, walked away from the talks last week, saying he was on “sabbatical.”
On Sunday Sen. Majority Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, another member of the group, said: “What we need this week is for a bipartisan group of senators to step up and tell us, now the Gang of Five, we want to sit down with you, we want to proceed with you in a bipartisan way to deal with this deficit.”
Coburn said last week that the gang’s talks had “reached an impasse.” Durbin, however, said that the group had been “ready to announce” its recommendations when Coburn decided to walk away. Various reports indicate that Coburn had sought greater Medicare reductions.
Coburn left open the possibility of rejoining the gang’s talks but also said he would release a budget plan of his own that “puts everything on the table and cuts $9 trillion in spending over the next decade.”
Earlier this month members of The Concord Coalition’s Board of Directors who had served in Congress issued a statement urging the Gang of Six to continue its efforts.
Statement by Concord Coalition Board Members on Gang of Six
Assistant Senate Majority Leader Durbin’s Remarks (Transcript)
Senator Coburn’s Op-Ed: Why is the Senate stalling on the debt debate?