Virginia Democratic Senator Mark Warner is hosting a retreat this week for a bipartisan group of senators to discuss ways to divert massive budget cuts slated for the nation. Partisan wrangling over raising the nation’s debt ceiling not only led to the U.S. credit rating being downgraded, it also set up sequestration: a mechanism to cut hundreds of billions of dollars from the federal budget if lawmakers don not hammer out a deal. That hatchet is slated to fall in January.
Senator Warner says even in the midst of this year’s elections it is important for him and a bipartisan group of lawmakers to try to divert those cuts. “What I fear the most is going through the kind of kabuki dance that leads us to the eleventh hour where you then end up with a product that looks like the debt ceiling product.”
Warner and the others are being closed-lipped on the deal they are discussing behind closed-doors, but he is offering at least one hint. “And if there’s a memo to us going forward: don’t set up a default mechanism that you can’t live with.”
Warner and the others are not disclosing where the retreat will be located, and they are not expected to unveil any product until after this year’s elections.
-by Matt Laslo