Nearly two-thirds of the US Senate pressed President Barack Obama on Friday to back a “broad approach” of spending cuts, tax reforms, and curbing popular social programs to reduce the deficit.
“We believe comprehensive deficit reduction measures are imperative and to ask you to support a broad approach to solving the problem,” 64 of the chamber’s 100 members said in a bipartisan letter to Obama.
The group — which comprised 31 Democrats and one of their independent allies, as well as 32 Republicans — said they hoped any negotiations would “include discretionary spending cuts, entitlement changes and tax reform.”
“By approaching these negotiations comprehensively, with a strong signal of support from you, we believe that we can achieve consensus on these important fiscal issues. This would send a powerful message to Americans that Washington can work together to tackle this critical issue,” they said.
All sides also face a political fight over raising the US debt ceiling, amid warnings from some conservative Republicans that they will not agree to do so absent deep spending cuts that most Democrats oppose.
Some US senators have been working to craft legislation enacting policy proposals from a special commission Obama named to study ways to rein in the country’s runaway debt.
But Republicans have said they need the president to lead if the congress is to move on politically sensitive “entitlement” spending on the social security retirement program, as well as the Medicaid and Medicare health insurance plans for the poor and the elderly, respectively.
Copyright © 2011 AFP