Thursday, March 10, 2011

Mark Warner Receives Praise for his Leadership on Budget Issues

In a clear sign of how we need to simply have a budget that both reduces the deficit and doesn't drastically cut crucial programs, the Senate rejected HR 1 (the GOP's continuing resolution proposal) and the one put forward by the Democratic leadership. The way things are going, however, I get the sense from conversations I've had with staffers that it's almost like a game of chicken. Nobody wants to see a government shutdown, but if it does happen, they want to make sure the other side receives the blame. With that in mind, one of the few ways I see a plan moving forward is if a bipartisan group hashes out a deal and then presents it as a unified front.

While I'm a little uncomfortable about the closed door meetings for such a crucial decision making process, the "Gang of 6" senators have been meeting in an attempt to present that unified plan. Virginians should be proud to know that Mark Warner is one of those 6 senators. As Brian Moran pointed out in a statement on Tuesday, Warner has a history of making tough budget decisions and its his administration that's often credited with starting the string of Democratic successes in Virginia.
“Mark Warner built his public service career on his ability and willingness to face up to a problem and make the tough decisions that others kick down the road,” said Moran. “That’s what he did as Governor and that’s what he’s doing as our Senator.

“In 2004 Governor Warner faced a massive budget deficit. Instead of using short-term fixes or balancing the budget on the backs of students and working families, he cut spending, made government more efficient and formed a bipartisan coalition that brought structural balance back to the Virginia budget. That 2004 budget deal resulted in a budget surplus, which enabled a record investment in education that helped create jobs and grow our economy.

“As a Governor and a Senator, Mark Warner has proven that it is possible to bring people together and face challenges in a way that makes life better for middle class families. That is the approach that made Virginia the best managed state in the nation during his and Governor Kaine’s administrations, and it is the same approach that is guiding his efforts to bring those results to the budget discussion in Washington."
If Warner is able to use his position in the Gang of 6 to do anything like he did while in the governor's mansion, then we should be able see a decent deal made in regards to the continuing resolution. As we wait to see if the Gang of 6 can come up with anything, however, we're left looking at huge differences between the parties on critical programs like Head Start and pre-K education.

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