Normally optimistic Mark Warner “losing sleep” over debt fight
He is normally the guy trying to rally everyone else. When everyone sees gloom and doom, Sen. Mark Warner (D-Virginia) looks for opportunity. But after several attempts to be the voice of reason in an increasingly rancorous debate over the federal debt ceiling, even Mark Warner is starting to lose faith.
“Ryan, I can’t sleep at night,” he told me Tuesday during a satellite interview from Capitol Hill. “I am very worried.”
Last week, I caught up with Warner just as his “Gang of Six” was leaving his office. At that time Warner felt like he and a few of his bi-partisan colleagues had come up with plan that mixed cuts and tax increases to ease the country’s debt burden and increase the debt ceiling.
He thought it was a plan he could sell. He was wrong. About an hour or so later, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R- Henrico) gave me the first glimpse into what the Republican House would think of the plan when he told me that from his view, the numbers “just don’t make sense”.
Now, less than a week later, the Gang of Six plan, which was gaining momentum, is on the outside looking in. The White House and House Republicans aren’t talking and there doesn’t appear to be any kind of serious plan that all three players will be able to agree upon.
Hence the reason, Warner is getting concerned.
“In my heart, I’ve got to believe that we will not go through driving off this off the cliff,” he said. “But we got to get out of our partisan foxholes we’ve got to be willing to get over this debt limit.”
Warner is still holding out hope that at least some version of the Gang of Six plan will be in the mix, but at this point there are no indications that any deal is imminent. Making many people in Washington, New York and beyond very nervous.
Extended clips from my conversation with Warner, including his warnings about what could happen if we get to August 2nd without a deal are below: