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Posted at 06:18 PM ET, 11/21/2011

Warner, on supercommittee failure: Cutting debt and deficit shouldn’t be that hard

On the day that a special congressional supercommittee acknowledged failure, Virginia Sen. Mark Warner (D) said cutting the nation’s debt and deficit shouldn’t be that hard.

“This is not putting a man on the moon, beating communism or starting the civil rights movement,’’ he told dozens of students at Virginia Commonwealth University. “This should be the kind of basic requirement of any elected officials that you hire to at least put the country on a sustainable fiscal path....If we don’t, you should fire us all.”
Sen. Mark Warner ( D-Va.), center, flanked by House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Md., left, and Sen. Joe Manchin, (D-W.Va.) gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Nov. 16. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

But, Warner said, it would require serious action by Congress.

“It’s going to require Congress to find ways to save on our entitlement programs, cut some of our spending and also raise some additional revenue.’’

Warner, elected in 2008, said no issue has taken more of his time and energy than the nation’s escalating debt and deficit. The former governor who helped found the so-called Gang of Six, a bipartisan sextet of senators who tried to craft a deal to address the nation’s long-term debt problems, said he’s still optimistic that Congress can act.

“The good news is that there is a growing number of folks in both political parties who actually want to fix the problem,’’ he said.

Last week, Warner and a bipartisan coalition of 45 senators and 100 members of the U.S. House urged the supercommittee to “go big.’’

“The only way we are going to get this passed is if we can build a consensus where every American feels like they have a stake,’’ he said. “I would never sell this country short.”

By  |  06:18 PM ET, 11/21/2011

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