Coburn and Obama developed a friendship while the president was in the Senate, and the two co-sponsored government transparency initiatives.
Coburn has been actively involved in searching for a way to reduce the deficit in recent years. He served on the president’s deficit commission last year and voted for the panel’s product, which called for increased revenues and significant cuts and changes to entitlement programs like Medicare. Because of that vote, Coburn has been engaged in a rhetorical battle with some conservatives who say he supported tax increases. Coburn has said revenues must be a part of any bipartisan deal to reduce the deficit.
Coburn was also a member of the Senate’s bipartisan “gang of six,” which unveiled a deficit reduction plan weeks before Congress approved the debt limit measure.
However, Coburn voted against the debt ceiling bill, which was passed just hours before the government was expected to default on its debt obligations.