The Washington Post

Mark Warner ‘disappointed’ that Biden debt talks stalled

U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D) said Friday he was disappointed that Republicans pulled out of debt-reduction talks with the White House on Thursday, accusing them of playing political games.

“It’s not about who’s at the table. It’s about whether we get something done,’’ Warner said while in Richmond. “I walk around with almost like a sign to other members of Congress saying, ‘The end is near. We’ve got to act.’ People are still playing political games.”

Republicans, including House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), said Thursday that the negotiations led by Vice President Biden on reducing the nation’s debt were no longer progressing because Democrats were continuing to push for as much as $400 billion in new taxes.

“I think people think this is one more Washington squabble,” Warner said.

Warner said it would be irresponsible to wait until late July or early August to get “our fiscal house in order.”

“The numbers don’t lie,’’ he said. “The idea that we can solve this on one side of the balance sheet is a fundamental lack of basic Econ 101.”

Warner, along with Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), has been leading a bipartisan band of senators dubbed the Gang of Six, to come up with a comprehensive deficit-cutting plan — a combination of spending cuts and changes to the tax code and entitlement programs. Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) left the group, but Warner said he hopes to resolve the last few differences and unveil the group’s plan in a week or so.

“We've still got a few items outstanding, but if we can't get those finalized, we ought to at least present what we have,” Warner said.

Warner was in Richmond to present a Bronze Star to Norvelle Langhorne of Richmond -- 67 years after his service during World War II -- at the Virginia War Memorial.


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