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.”
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.