Washington (CNN) – A freshman Democratic senator said Sunday that he supports a proposal that would create a bipartisan commission intended to help Congress control federal spending and borrowing.
Last week, the top Democrat and top Republican on the Senate Budget Committee introduced legislation that would create a bipartisan task force charged with making recommendations to Congress for reining in runaway spending that threatens to overwhelm the federal budget. Specifically, the commission would suggest ways to curb spending growth, especially in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, and to boost tax revenue.
The proposed commission would include members of Congress from both parties along with representatives of the administration. Once the commission submitted its recommendations to Congress, Congress would then have to vote yes or no to the commission's suggestions without filibustering or amending them.
Virginia Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, who also sits on the Senate Budget Committee, said Sunday that he supports the proposal.
“On a longer term, I actually believe this process [of federal spending] has totally got out of control,” Warner said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.
“I came from being a governor where we actually had to balance our books each year,” Warner explained.
In the long term, Warner said he believed the only way Congress would be able to get spending under control is through the bipartisan commission proposed last week by Sen. Kent Conrad, D-North Dakota, and Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire.”
“Democrats and Republicans [should] come together, go ahead and put revenues and spending both out there and then come back and vote it straight up and down,” Warner said, in much the same way Congress handles the sticky political issue of closing military bases across the country.
“I don’t see how this process where everybody kind of lards on is going to actually ever come to an end unless we finally have the discipline to do a straight up or down vote across the board,” Warner also told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King.
“This is a moment of crisis” that requires both parties to put partisanship aside, Warner also said Sunday.
Asked whether his party would support the idea of a partisan budgetary commission, Republican Sen. John Thune was noncommittal.
“Most would support the commission process,” Thune said Sunday on State of the Union. “It doesn’t mean that Republicans would vote for what the commission recommends.”
Earlier on State of the Union, one of President Obama’s top economic advisers said Obama is open to approaches that will achieve the ultimate goal of controlling the federal budget deficit.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, have both expressed reservations about the commission proposal introduced last week by Sens. Conrad and Gregg.