Senate's ‘Gang of Six’ Tackles Deficit Head-On
Plan would require core compromises by Democrats and Republicans
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 17, 2011 5:35 AM CDT
In this April 21, 2010 file photo, Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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(Newser) – The soaring national debt is making strange bedfellows in the Senate: A bipartisan "Gang of Six" has been secretly working for months, and now appears as the leading hope in negotiations, with both sides willing to sacrifice their sacred cows. For Democrats, that means deep cuts to Medicare and Medicaid, reports the New York Times, and for Republicans that means raising taxes.

The Gang of Six includes the very-left Richard Durbin and the hard-right Saxby Chambliss, who both say the deficit looms larger than partisanship. “Borrowing 40 cents out of every dollar we spend for missiles or food stamps is unsustainable," says Durbin. “I hear my critics; I pay attention to my constituents,” says Chambliss. “But you’ve got to do the right thing and what’s best for the country.” But there's no guarantee the Senate will pass the Gang of Six's compromise, never mind the Tea Party-beholden House. And if their compromise fails, then President Obama's goal of a bipartisan Washington will probably fail, too.