President Obama lends support to latest Gang of Six plan

By Sara Wyant

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WASHINGTON, July 19 - Noting that we “don't have any more time to engage in symbolic gestures,” President Barack Obama held another press conference today to push for a deficit reduction deal and hailed a recent proposal from the so-called “Gang of Six” as a “very significant step.”

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 The Gang of Six plan calls for an immediate $500 billion "down payment" on cutting the deficit as the starting point toward cuts of $3.7 trillion that would be finalized in a second piece of legislation. It would raise revenues by about $1 trillion over 10 years and cut popular benefit programs like Medicare and Medicaid.

 Agriculture programs would be cut by $11 billion over 10 years, with discretion given to the Agriculture Committees to come up with the actual cuts.

 The president said the bipartisan group of six senators, which includes  Sen. Mark Warner, D-VA, Sen. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-GA, Kent Conrad, D-ND, Sen. Dick Durbin, D-IL, Sen. Mike Crapo, R-ID, and Sen. Tom Coburn, R-OK, had come up with a proposal that the president said is “broadly consistent with the approach I've urged.”

 The president dismissed the “Cut, Cap and Balance” measure backed by House Republicans that will come up for a floor vote later today. Obama has said he would veto such a bill if it arrived on his desk. Press Secretary Jay Carney referred to the measure as “Duck, Dodge and Mismantle” during a press briefing yesterday.

 A group of GOP freshman traveled over to the White House this morning to vent their frustration over President Obama's refusal to outline details of his own deficit reduction plan. They said the president's failure to lead on deficit reduction amounted to “Punt, Pass and Kick.”


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