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March 18, 2011

Bennet, Johanns Lead Bipartisan Call for President to Support Comprehensive Deficit Reduction

32 Republicans, 32 Democrats Sign Letter

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Sens. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Mike Johanns (R-Neb.) today led a bipartisan call for President Obama to support a comprehensive deficit reduction package in any negotiations on the budget. 

In a letter to the President, 64 Senators ask him to engage in budget negotiations beyond FY2011 that include discretionary spending cuts, entitlement changes and tax reform, to create meaningful deficit reduction. The letter notes that a bipartisan group of Senators has been working to craft a comprehensive deficit reduction package based upon the recommendations of the Fiscal Commission, and that the group’s work represents an important foundation to achieve meaningful progress on our debt. 

“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,” the senators wrote. 

The full text of the letter is included below.

Dear President Obama:

As the Administration continues to work with Congressional leadership regarding our current budget situation, we write to inform you that we believe comprehensive deficit reduction measures are imperative and to ask you to support a broad approach to solving the problem.

As you know, a bipartisan group of Senators has been working to craft a comprehensive deficit reduction package based upon the recommendations of the Fiscal Commission.  While we may not agree with every aspect of the Commission’s recommendations, we believe that its work represents an important foundation to achieve meaningful progress on our debt.  The Commission’s work also underscored the scope and breadth of our nation’s long-term fiscal challenges.  

Beyond FY2011 funding decisions, we urge you to engage in a broader discussion about a comprehensive deficit reduction package.  Specifically, we hope that the discussion will 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.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. 

In addition to Johanns and Bennet, the letter was signed by the following Senators:

Republicans:

Lamar Alexander (R–TN), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), John Barrasso (R-WY), Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (R-AR), Scott Brown (R- MA), Richard Burr (R -NC), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Dan Coats (R-IN), Tom Coburn (R-OK), Thad Cochran (R-MS), Bob Corker (R-TN), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Crapo (R-ID), Mike Enzi (R-WY), Lindsay Graham (R-SC) John Hoeven (R-ND), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), Ron Johnson (R-WI), Mark Kirk (R-IL), Mike Lee (R-UT), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Rob Portman (R-OH), James Risch (R-ID), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Richard Shelby (R-AL), John Thune (R-SD) and Roger Wicker (R-MS).

Democrats:

John Kerry (D-MA), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Joseph Lieberman (ID-CT), Kay Hagan (D-NC), Mark Begich (D-AK),  Thomas Carper (D-DE), Mark Udall (D- CO), Mark Pryor (D-AR), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Jon Tester (D-MT), Christopher Coons (D-DE), Ben Nelson (D-NE), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Bill Nelson (D-FL), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Benjamin Cardin (D-MD), Al Franken (D-MN), Mary Landrieu (D-LA) , Kent Conrad (D-ND) , Mark Warner (D-VA), Richard Durbin (D-IL), Tom Harkin (D-IA), Herb Kohl (D-WI), Patty Murray (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Jeff Bingaman (D-NM), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Tom Udall (D-NM) and Sherrod Brown (D-OH).

The total number of signers is 64. 

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