WASHINGTON -- Former members of Congress who serve on The Concord Coalition’s Board of Directors today urged elected officials to raise the debt limit and embrace the broad deficit-reduction plan released this week by the Senate’s bipartisan “Gang of Six.”
“The Gang of Six proposal serves as a beacon for those who wish to support meaningful bipartisan solutions,” the board members said in a prepared statement. “It confronts the inevitable trade-offs that must be made and defies those who insist that compromise is a fool’s errand. . . . With this proposal, the Gang of Six has become the Gang of Sense. This is one gang we urge others to join.”
The statement was issued by Concord’s co-chairmen – former Senators Warren B. Rudman and Bob Kerrey -- along with former Senators Evan Bayh III, Judd Gregg, Sam Nunn, and Chuck Robb, and former Representatives J. Alex McMillan, Timothy J. Penny, John Tanner and Charlie Stenholm.
After months of discussion, the Gang of Six this week released a plan to cut projected deficits by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade and stabilize the federal debt. The proposal would scrutinize all parts of the federal budget, including domestic discretionary spending, defense, entitlements and taxes.
“The proposal is tough but politically viable because it calls for broad sacrifice,” the Concord directors said. “Indeed, it is the basic concession to political reality -- that no one can get everything they want and all must accept some things they don’t want – that gives the Gang of Six proposal its breakthrough potential.”
The former lawmakers said the Gang’s plan “perfectly fits” the need to combine a debt limit increase with a credible plan for fiscal reform: “We believe there must be no delay in raising the debt limit. It is not in the nation’s interests to flirt with default in any form. At the same time, many in both parties have shown increasing interest in a ‘grand bargain’ as part of a measure to increase the debt limit.”
There is not enough time to negotiate, draft and enact major legislation before the Aug. 2 deadline for raising the limit to avoid default. But if progress can be made on a larger agreement, the Concord board members said, “raising the debt limit to accommodate the time needed to complete the process should not be a problem.”
The full text of the statement by former lawmakers on Concord’s board can be found at:
The Concord Coalition is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to fiscal responsibility. Former U.S. Senators Warren B. Rudman (R-NH) and Bob Kerrey (D-NE) serve as Concord's co-chairs and former Secretary of Commerce Peter G. Peterson serves as president.