Saturday, February 19, 2011

Coburn One Of Senate's 'Gang of Six'

Senator Tom "Dr. No" Coburn
From Politics Daily ~ While a high-decibel debate on immediate spending cuts rages in the House, a small group of senators that some call the "Gang of Six" is working quietly on a serious long-range plan to reduce the nation's trillion-dollar-plus budget deficits.

[Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn is a member of the group.]

Taking a cue from the Obama administration deficit-reduction commission, the bipartisan outline calls for higher taxes and across-the-board limits on spending, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Although the plan is still in the works, it could surface as early as next month.

In its report , the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform called for difficult steps that would trim deficits by some $4 trillion over a decade. The recommendations last December sought a higher retirement age for Social Security, more needs-tests for Medicare benefits, cuts in defense spending and scaling back cherished tax breaks, such as the home mortgage deduction.

The "gang" includes four commission members who supported that report: Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.); Kent Conrad (D-N.D.); Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho). Sens. Mark Warner (D-Va.) and Saxbe Chambliss (R-Ga.) are also part of the private discussions. And they have clout: Durbin, as majority whip, ranks second in the Senate Democratic hierarchy. Conrad is chairman of the Budget Committee.

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