Two U.S. senators tout bipartisan plan to slash budget

16:43, March 14, 2011      

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by Matthew Rusling

Two U.S. senators are hammering out a bipartisan plan to slash 4 trillion U.S. dollars from the massive U.S. debt over the next decade, amid a stalemate between Democrats and Republicans over the passage of next year's budget.

Sens. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.) emphasized the importance of taming a deficit that many fret could lead to dire fiscal consequences down the road if actions are not taken now.

"If we don't get our arms around it now, we are going to become a second tier nation," said Chambliss on Fox News Sunday.

The federal government in recent weeks came close to shuttering as Congress was deadlocked over the 2012 budget proposal of U.S. President Barack Obama. Republicans charged that the plan lacked adequate spending cuts, while Democrats argued that the GOP aimed to slash important programs in a move that still would do little to make a dent in the national debt.

The issue has still not been solved and both sides are seeking a way to avoid a government shutdown.

Neither party, however, wants to be the first to touch entitlements -- social security, Medicare, Medicaid and defense -- which experts said are key to bringing down spending and reducing the debt.

Such a move would invite criticism from both sides of the political divide, especially from political stakeholders.

Warner, however, said he is ready to start looking at those programs.

"We have to do all this. Because otherwise, if we focus the decision as we have so far ... all you're cutting is 12 percent of the federal budget," he said on Fox News Sunday.

"You've got to put everything out. That means Saxby and I are probably going to take some arrows," he said.

"Every day that we don't act, we add 4 billion dollars to our national debt," he said, adding that both sides would have to compromise.

While the two senators declined to provide a date by which the plan would be finalized, the proposal would include reforms to the tax code, including a reduction in corporate and individual tax rates.

"Every time we've made a significant reform in the tax code, whether it was under Reagan in 86 or Bush in 2001, what we've seen is reduction in rates and an increase in revenue," Chambliss said.

The plan would also ensure that social security is solved for the next 75 years and make sure that Congress can not simply ramp up spending when revenues rise.

"When we see an increase in revenues coming into Washington, we've got to make sure that Congress doesn't have the ability to spend that," Chambliss said.

"One of the major issues that we are dialoguing about in our group now is what do we do with those revenues," he said.

"We need to make sure that we commit the most significant part of those revenues to tax reduction," he said. "Get our corporate rate down to where we're competitive in the world market place. Get our individual rates down to where people actually do pay less in taxes."

"And we've got to take a portion of that ... and apply it to this 14-trillion-dollar debt," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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