Those comments are similar to words uttered by gang of six members leading up to its July release of a $3.7 trillion deficit reduction package. Capitol observers criticized the group for coming out with a deal too late to affect the summer’s contentious debt limit discussions, and Congressional leaders have kept their ideas at arms length. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) challenged the group Tuesday, saying, “If someone has a proposal about reducing the deficit, the debt, here is my suggestion: Put it in bill form, in writing — not all these happy statements on what people think can be done.”
Simpson acknowledged that for the broader House-Senate coalition to make any progress, they will need a buy-in from leadership and to put something in bill form that could be considered early next year — just as Members really get into election mode. The challenges, Simpson noted, are significant.
“I know leadership wants to solve this problem. If they’ve got a better way to solve it, I’m more than willing to listen,” he said. “But right now, this is the only thing moving forward.”
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.