Republicans and Democrats praise ‘Gang of Six’ debt reduction plan

Amanda Carey Contributor
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On Tuesday morning the so-called “Gang of Six” unveiled a revamped version of their debt-reduction plan, which could become the breakthrough Congress has been waiting for. The group, which began working on debt talks weeks ago, also welcomed back Sen. Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. Coburn quit the group in May.

The new plan offered by the Gang reduces the federal deficit by $3.7 trillion over the next decade, and increases revenues by $1 trillion through reforms in the tax code.

Coburn praised the plan on Tuesday, saying it has a good chance of garnering the support of at least 60 Senators.

The plan was negotiated by the Gang, sans Coburn: Democrat Sens. Kent Conrad of North Dakota, Mark Warner of Virginia, and Dick Durbin of Illinois, and Republican Sens. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Mike Crapo of Idaho.

The group presented the plan during a meeting where more than 50 Senators were in attendance. Afterward, both Republicans and Democrats alike praised the proposal. (Coburn offers $9 trillion deficit reduction proposal)

“This is a very thoughtful, serious plan,” said Sen. Mike Johanns of Nebraska.  “I have now seen the presentation half a dozen times and each time I have seen it I have become more and more convinced that this is the vehicle that gives us the best opportunity to deal with a whole range of issues. I’m excited about the possibilities here.”

Democrat Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado said that while there will never be complete agreement on one single plan, “We need to make sure that the capital markets are reassured the paper they own is worth what they paid of it. … This plan meets those broad tests.”

“This doesn’t solve our problems but it creates the way forward where we can solve our problems,” Coburn added.

The Gang has given their colleagues 24 hours to consider the proposal.