WASHINGTON – With time growing short and the prospects of a “fiscal cliff” plunge dead ahead, legislators are scrambling to find a deal. But Virginia Sen. Mark Warner says when they do, it won’t be a one-sided offering from either party.
“The speaker has tried to do a Republican-only deal in the House, that’s not going to happen. There are some on the Democratic side who say, ‘OK, if we get revenues that the president has requested, that would be enough.’ That’s not going to be enough. We’re going to have to deal with additional spending cuts and entitlement reform,” Warner, a Democrat, said on WTOP Friday morning.
Compromise will be found after both sides concede votes, Warner says.
“I hope what this latest setback would show is, it’s not going to be the extremes of either party that should be able to dictate this deal,” Warner says.
While he remains confident that Congress will find a deal, he worries it won’t be all-encompassing legislation that will solve the long-term financial problems facing the country.
“My fear now is, I still am hopeful that we’ll get a deal, but it may be a small one, which will still leave the bulk of the work until next year,” Warner says.
He says he and his colleagues are aware the American people are depending on their representatives to keep the nation out of financial crisis. He also expressed frustration with what he termed “debt ceiling roulette.”
“You cannot allow the United States of America every 12, 15, 18 months to be held hostage to either party or either house of Congress with the full faith and credit of the United States being held hostage with the debt ceiling,” Warner says.
When the president laid out the details of his plan last week, Warner says that helped in getting a response that moved the conversation forward.
“That got us 85 percent of the way there. Unfortunately, what we came back to in the House – I think the speaker has negotiated in good faith – but, he cannot do a deal that is in effect Republicans-only. He’s going to have to be willing to lose a lot of his Republican House members … and pick up Democrats. On the other side, the Democrats are going to have to lose some of the people who say we can’t touch a penny around Medicare, Social Security because they deny the math around the entitlement programs. These are great programs but the math around them just doesn’t work because we’re living a lot longer.”