Press Releases

Sen. Warner calls for prompt action on U.S. deficit & debt

”Every day, week, month” of delay “limits our options, makes the choices harder”

Dec 06 2010

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) today urged the White House and the bipartisan Congressional leadership to allow consideration of the recommendations  of the bipartisan Deficit Commission despite the Commission’s inability on Friday to reach the “supermajority” consensus that would have triggered Congressional action. The proposals of the 18-member National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, which could reduce long-term debt by an estimated $4 trillion over the next decade, fell just three votes short of the 14 votes required to forward recommendations to Congress. 

“The seriousness of our nation’s fiscal challenges – the compelling need to address these issues in a responsible and bipartisan way -- did not suddenly dissipate or magically disappear over the course of the weekend,” Senator Warner said in remarks on the Senate floor today. “Since the Commission’s final meeting ended on Friday afternoon, it is estimated that the national debt – the running tally of what the U.S. government owes -- has increased by $15 billion, and our national debt is approaching a staggering $14 trillion.”

“Every day, every week, every month that we put-off this discussion, our options become more limited and the choices get even tougher,” Senator Warner said.

On Friday, Senator Warner organized a group of 14 Senators to sign a joint letter to the White House and Congressional leadership asking for quick action regardless of the outcome of Friday’s vote.   Co-signers of the Warner letter included Evan Bayh (D-IN), Mark Begich (D-AK), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Tom Carper (D-DE), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Mark Udall (D-CO). During Monday’s floor speech, Senator Warner placed a copy of the letter in the Congressional Record.

 “I’ve only served in this body for about two years so far, but one thing I’ve already learned is this: if Washington can find an excuse to punt on a difficult decision, it almost always will,” Senator Warner said today. “But as the current economic upheaval in Europe so clearly demonstrates, we cannot simply ignore this challenge because it’s inconvenient -- or because the choices are just too tough. Our competitors around the world certainly are not waiting for America to get its act together.”

“We must not allow the perfect to be the enemy of the good, and our own political discomfort should not be used as an excuse to delay holding an honest and long-overdue discussion about the complicated fiscal choices confronting us today,” Senator Warner told his colleagues on Monday.

A copy of Friday’s letter signed by 14 Senators is available here.