Conrad calls for 'budget summit'
December 3rd, 2010
05:31 PM ET
12 years ago

Conrad calls for 'budget summit'

Washington (CNN) - Despite the fact that the deficit commission did not reach its goal of a supermajority to get its proposals to the floor of the congress, two of its members say their work should now serve as the blueprint for deficit reduction in the future.

In addition, Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-North Dakota) told CNN that he believes there needs to be a "budget summit" in the near future-with representatives from both sides of the aisle, the White House and the budget office. "It's essential,' he says, adding that near-term decisions on raising the debt limit and cutting spending have to be made with the commission recommendations in mind.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-New Hampshire), the ranking member on the Budget Committee retiring at the end of this session, made the case that the commission has delivered a "template" to govern. "This is the memo that will drive the meeting if we're successful," he told CNN. "We attracted a strong cross section of philosophical views." Indeed, he added, the commission's success means that "we can have a major initiative in the area of spending restraint" in the near future.

If congress doesn't take the initiative, he added, "I believe the facts are such that we will have a major financial issue sooner rather than later…and at some point that will force the president and the congress to act." He called the deficit issue a "Force 5 hurricane 30 miles offshore."

Gregg said he understood why the House GOP leaders on the commission- decided not to sign on to the plan. "They said we didn't go far enough," he allowed. "But Ryan also made the point that a lot of what we did will be in his budget."

In the end, both men agreed, it's time for leadership-from both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue. The president could, for example, call for a budget summit in his State of the Union speech in January. And congressional leaders, faced with budget and spending decisions, could possibly decide to go along with the idea.

One Conrad regret: "We set the bar so high in requiring 14 of 18 votes to get this to the floor," he says. "I wish it hadn't been set so high." He made the point that the group did manage to get 60 percent of its voters to agree-a number that would be good enough to end a filibuster in the senate.

Filed under: Debt • Judd Gregg • Kent Conrad
soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Kenneth Close

    File for Bankruptcy you get to keep the car and the house!

    December 3, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  2. Sniffit

    why bother? The GOP has telegraphed its playboko for th enext 2 years in the manner they handled the so-called "Slurpee Summit," which is to say "we will pay lip service to compromise and bipartisanship, even go so far as to sit down at the table and pretend to negotiate, but as we do, those not attending the negotiations will be hard at work drawing our line in the sand so we can, immediately after pretending to negotiate, demand that either everything gets done the way we want it done or nothign gets done at all." They will then justify and rationalize it every time with "we'er in an economic crisis and you never/always do [insert whatever they want to do or don't want done] if we're in that situation. It makes/doesn't make sense to do otherwise." Then someone will go "why?" and they'll say "because that's what my ideology says about how the world shoudl work and I've been repeating it ad nauseum and loud enough for long enough that I believe reality has finally gotten the message and decided to obey me."

    December 3, 2010 05:55 pm at 5:55 pm |
  3. peter s

    Regardless that was job well done!

    December 3, 2010 06:22 pm at 6:22 pm |
  4. Indie Woman in Denver

    Conrad is a DINO. I agree we need to do something big to address the deficit, but the answer is easy: don't extend the tax cuts for income over $250K. It's already been proven, over the past decade, that most rich folks don't spend their tax savings creating jobs in the US. During that time, they've shipped more & more jobs off shore. Ronald Reagan's hopes for "trickle-down economics" haved failed miserably. If there are to be any tax breaks beyond the middle class, they should be targeted towards business for job creation, and job creation ONLY.

    December 3, 2010 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  5. 8 Years of "Trickle Down" economics has only left a dribbling wet spot on working Americans's shoes!

    I agree, 14 out of 18 was absurd, that would have been a 77% approval rate, whatever happened to a a simple majority?

    A lot of tough love will now be set aside and kicked down the road.

    It was a good start for the debate, but now it will back to gridlock.

    December 3, 2010 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |