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Deficit co-chairs call for immediate negotiations

After meeting today with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and OMB Director Jack Lew, deficit-reduction commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles (D) and Alan Simpson (R) released a statement calling on President Obama to launch negotiations with Congress earlier next year to consider ways to reduce the deficit/debt.

They also want Obama to issue his own ideas for deficit reduction in his upcoming State of the Union address.

The commission's final proposal won support from more than majority of members, but not the supermajority (14 of 18 votes) needed to force Congress to consider it.

Their statement:

While Congress and the administration decide how to temporarily address the lagging economy, we call on the President to launch negotiations with congressional leaders from both parties when Congress returns in January on the critical next step of establishing a serious fiscal responsibility plan to strengthen our economy for the long term. Our country needs a comprehensive plan to restrain spending across the federal budget, enact broad-based tax reform that lowers rates and reduces the deficit, take steps to bring down health care costs, and make Social Security solvent for the next 75 years and beyond.

We believe the Fiscal Commission's plan provides a serious and substantive starting point for the tough choices Washington cannot afford to put off any longer. We urge the President to build on these bipartisan ideas by putting forward his own plan in his State of the Union address and budget. We further call on him to bring key congressional leaders together with administration officials to negotiate and reach conclusion on a specific deficit reduction agreement that would be enacted. We believe a bipartisan agreement should be reached before any long-term increase in the debt limit is approved.

While no Commissioner supports every element of the Commission plan, the nation desperately needs a broad, bipartisan agreement on a plan that would get our debt under control and safeguard our economic future. Our businesses will not be able to grow and create jobs and our workers will not be able to compete without a strategy to get this crushing debt burden off our backs. If we fail to act today, we will be forcing far more difficult choices on the next generation.

Neither party can fix this problem on its own, and both parties have a responsibility to do their part. Americans are counting on us to put politics aside, pull together not pull apart, and agree on a plan to live within our means and make America strong for the long haul.