Warner continues to warn about debt crisis
Senator Mark Warner (D-Virginia) is in a unique position in Washington. He is among a small group of elected officials who does not need to campaign this fall. President Barack Obama, 1/3 of the Senate and the entire House of Representatives will face voters once again in November.
Perhaps that is one of the many reasons that Warner isn’t easily led into squabbles over campaigns and slogans. No matter what you ask him, he brings the conversation back to the one thing that concerns him the most, the debt crisis and country’s increasing deficit.
“Until, and unless we can make that grand bargain around the major issues (debt, deficit, entitlement reform)” said Warner. “I’m not sure that we are going to get to a lot of the other issues because until you get your balance sheet in order, how do you take on anything else?”
Warner who, normally speaks in reserved tones and is not prone to exaggeration, gets a bit of fire under him when talking about the debt crisis. The centrist democrat has said in the past that the problem forces him to lose sleep. On Tuesday he told me that if the Federal Government can’t fix the problem, every single elected leader should lose their jobs.
“If we don’t make progress, and I say this for me and everyone else up here, if we don’t make progress, on being able to get our deficit under control, to be able to take on the big issues surrounding entitlement reform and tax reform and get our nation’s balance sheet right, then we should all be fired,” he said.
The former Virginia governor who prided himself on finding areas of compromise between both parties said the fact that this in an election year is no excuse. He said a continued lack of progress will speak to a bigger problem.
“I unfortunately think this deficit issue ends up being almost a proxy to whether or not congress can operate in the 21st century.”
An extended clip from my conversation with Senator Warner can be found below.
Also tonight at the State of the Union, Senator Warner invited Reverend Curtis Harris, 87, a legendary civil rights figure in Virginia and the first African-American mayor of Hopewell, was Sen. Warner’s invited guest for President Obama’s State of the Union address to Congress.
Senator Warner visited with Reverend Harris prior to the president’s speech.