Bowles and Simpson: “Pray for the Gang of Six”
By JENNIFER DEPAUL,
Posted: June 03, 2011
Fiscal hawks Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles have one message to policymakers: pray for the Gang of Six.
Simpson and Bowles, who co-chaired President Obama’s National Fiscal Commission last year, said in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday that despite the fall out of the Senate’s Gang of Six, they are “our best shot” on reaching a deal to reduce the national deficit, which stands at $14.3 trillion. Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., took a break from the group's discussions. The government reached its legal limit on borrowing last month. The Treasury says Congress needs to raise the debt ceiling by August 2 or the U.S. will default on its loans for the first time in history.
They said they were encouraged by the bipartisan negotiations led by Vice President Joe Biden but its “unlikely that those discussions will yield savings large enough to truly stabilize our debt.” Those talks will not be enough to “get us to the promised land.” The Biden talks include six Republican and Democrat House and Senate members whose aim is to reach an agreement on more than $1 trillion in spending cuts in the short term, with an eye to a total of $4 trillion in deficit reduction in the coming decade or so.
Bowles and Simpson said the remaining five members of the gang should continue to work and will go forward with their proposal if there is support among their colleagues. They admitted that although there is no perfect budget solution, “the only way this works is through a bipartisan effort where everyone prods their own sacred cows into the cattle chute.”