Deficit Commission Chairs Call for Deficit Negotiations in January

By Jenny Schlesinger

Dec 9, 2010 11:56am

ABC News’ Arlette Saenz reports:

In a statement released today, Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, co-chairmen of President Obama's deficit commission, urged the president to initiate negotiations with congressional leaders about creating a national deficit reduction plan upon their return in January. Bowles and Simpson met with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew this morning at the White House and released the statement in conjunction with the meeting. 

In the statement, Bowles and Simpson expressed the need for bi-partisan negotiations to establish “a serious fiscal responsibility plan to strengthen our economy for the long term.”  They encouraged the president to use the ideas contained in the commission’s plan unveiled last week as a starting point to develop his own deficit reduction plan to be presented in his State of the Union address and budget. 

“We urge the President to build on these bipartisan ideas by putting forward his own plan in his State of the Union address and budget,” Bowles and Simpson said in the statement.  “We further call on him to bring key congressional leaders together with administration officials to negotiate and reach conclusion on a specific deficit reduction agreement that would be enacted.  We believe a bipartisan agreement should be reached before any long-term increase in the debt limit is approved.” 

Last week, the president’s deficit commission failed to garner the necessary 18 votes to pass their $4 trillion deficit reduction plan to Congress.  The commission fell four votes short of gaining the supermajority needed.  Following the meeting, Democratic commission member Sen. Kent Conrad told reporters that the administration and Congress need to hold an official summit on how to fix the deficit problem. 

“I think what’s required is a summit involving the president and the leadership of the Congress,” Conrad said on Friday.  “You need to bring together House leadership…Republican and Democrat, Senate leadership, Republican and Democrat and the administration, and there needs to be a negotiation, and it’s critically important for the country to do so.” 

Throughout the meetings, the co-chairs highlighted the bi-partisan nature of the commission and today, continued to stress the importance of working on a bi-partisan level to find a solution to the growing national deficit. 

“Neither party can fix this problem on its own, and both parties have a responsibility to do their part,” Bowles and Simpson said in the statement.  “Americans are counting on us to put politics aside, pull together not pull apart, and agree on a plan to live within our means and make America strong for the long haul.”

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