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Sen. Warner Proposes Fallback Option if Supercommittee Fails

Photo: Adam Hughes, Senate Budget Committee

All will not be lost if negotiations go nowhere and the deficit reduction supercommittee fails to reach an agreement, according to Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.).

During an appearance on CNN’s “State of the Union” program Sunday, Warner expressed hope that the supercommittee succeeds in delivering a proposal before Thanksgiving.

However, if it does not, Warner said Congress should vote on one of two plans proposed by the bipartisan “Gang of Six” or the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission.

Both plans call for $4 trillion in deficit reduction by combining spending cuts, tax increases and reforms to programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The supercommittee is charged with finding at least $1.5 trillion in budget savings over the next ten years.

Warner, who appeared on CNN with fellow “Gang of Six” member Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.), indicated the bar should be set higher in finding ways to reduce the deficit.

“We really need to be shooting for more like a $4 trillion deficit reduction plan,” Warner said in the interview. “Frankly, if the super committee doesn’t come up with a result, I would go back to our gang of six. That had $4 trillion of deficit reduction. It had balance. Maybe that ought to get a vote if the super committee can’t produce. ”

Warner later added the Bowles-Simpson approach should get a vote as well if the supercommittee cannot reach an agreement, which would result in automatic across-the-board cuts totaling $1.2 trillion, split 50-50 between defense and non-defense spending.

Warner was not the only lawmaker discussing deficit reduction on the Sunday talk show circuit. Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) appeared on Fox News Sunday to discuss how automatic cuts can be avoided if the supercommittee does not reach an agreement.

“First of all, I’m not giving up on getting something done,” Toomey said in the interview. “I really think we still can and I am going to do everything I can to achieve that. But in the very very unfortunate event that we don’t, I think it’s very likely that Congress would reconsider the configuration of that sequestration. And consider (if) this really the best way to do it.”

Toomey predicted a “lively debate” over the nature of the cuts, adding they might occur differently than outlined in the debt ceiling agreement reached over the summer.

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