Two US senators promise 2011 deficit-cutting bill

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON, Dec 20 (BestGrowthStock) – Two U.S. senators pledged
on Monday to offer bipartisan legislation next year that
reflected proposals to slash the federal budget deficit
submitted this month by a presidential commission.

“Taking the commission’s report … we’ll be introducing
that as legislation, a legislative vehicle, next year,
recognizing in the process that a lot of that would be subject
to change,” Democratic Senator Mark Warner said.

He was joined on a conference call with reporters by
Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss, who said the two are
working together on the project. It would face an uphill
political climb next year, despite wide agreement in Congress
the yawning deficit must be dealt with soon.

A commission established by President Barack Obama released
a plan earlier this month to overhaul the tax code by
eliminating or narrowing many tax breaks and cutting the
deficit by nearly $4 trillion over the next decade.

The Bowles-Simpson plan — named for panel co-chairmen
Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson — failed to win the support of
14 of the 18 commission members needed to trigger congressional
action on it. But 11 members backed it, more than expected.

Warner and Chambliss led a discussion last week among more
than a dozen Democrats and Republicans on the Senate floor
about the $1.3 trillion deficit for fiscal 2011. Warner said
then that it was time for the Senate “to put up or shut up” on
the issue.

He said on the conference call that key goals will be both
deficit reduction and tax reform that reduces business taxes
and simplifies income taxes, while making them more
progressive.

Chambliss said on the call that an impending vote in
Congress to raise the government’s debt ceiling — expected to
be needed in the first or second quarter of 2011 — will be an
important turning point.

“It gives us a deadline to look to from the standpoint of
getting some meaningful decisions made … If we can use that
as leverage that’s an ideal scenario,” Chambliss said.

Congress last week approved an $858-billion tax-cut deal
that added greatly to the deficit but included means whereby
Americans could use taxes saved to stimulate the sluggish
economy.

“You’ve got to allow the economy to recover before some of
these (deficit-reduction) items would kick in,” Warner said.

“We’re going to need active involvement of the (Obama)
administration … (and) the business community, he added.

(Editing by Philip Barbara)

Two US senators promise 2011 deficit-cutting bill