Free Lance-Star reporter Chelyen Davis covers Virginia government.
Warner on budget committee, hopes to push reforms
Sen. Mark Warner said Thursday that it’s time for Democrats and Republicans in Congress to face the federal government’s long-term entitlement and revenue problems.
Warner has been preaching that line for a good part of his first Senate term and participated in Senate efforts to find ways to reform both long-standing benefit programs — like Social Security — and reform the federal tax structure.
He has another shot at pushing those issues now that he has been appointed to the committee charged with negotiating a long-term budget.
That budget committee was part of the deal that ended the government shutdown Wednesday night.
In a call with reporters Thursday, Warner said he’ll try to urge both sides to give in — for Democrats to concede some points of entitlement reform and Republicans to make concessions on tax reforms.
Those, he said, are the two biggest stumbling blocks to a long-term fix for the federal budget problems.
“You can’t run the government on the revenue stream we’ve got right now and we’ve got a tax code that’s really antiquated and out of date,” Warner said. “We’ve got one more shot at this. There may be those who will say let’s just go for a small deal … my hope is we could actually put together a bigger deal and remove this debt and fiscal overhang.”