At the Securities Industry and Financial Market Association’s (SIFMA) annual meeting in New York on Tuesday, Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Mark Warner, D-Va., sat down with moderator Cheryl Casone of Fox Business News to discuss the fiscal cliff and America’s future competitiveness in the global marketplace.
The senators, both members of the recondite “Gang of Eight” are now members of the abbreviated “Gang of Six” whose focus is on dealing with the national debt. They are joined by four members of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform to complete the “Gang of Six.”
With Monday night’s debate and particularly President Obama’s now retracted statement that sequestration was Congress’ idea and his statement that “sequestration will not happen,” the senators dove right into the mire that is our country’s current debt crisis.
Chambliss was characteristically blunt and told the audience comprised of members of the finance community that “If you like any part of the package that we have proposed to deal with the debt then we have not done our job.” He went on to lament the fact that no work will be done until the election is over and it will turn into a “political slugfest between Thanksgiving and Christmas.”
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Warner thought it important to remind the audience how we got here. He blamed a rise in military spending, two wars that were put on a “credit card” and a much needed but ill-timed Medicare prescription benefit for seniors among others. Warner then reiterated that the only way the debt can be fixed is through “both spending cuts and new revenues,” a truth that is rarely echoed in Washington.
Both senators implored the business community to get involved and make the necessary sacrifices needed to fix the problem. They reminded the audience that the business community sat on the sidelines during the debt ceiling debate of the summer of 2011 and they needed to mobilize.