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Chambliss opimistic debt plan will come before deadline

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss

U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss said Congress needs to stop offering up "smoke-and-mirror" bills and pass meaningful legislation to address the nation's worsening debt situation.

In a statement to The Albany Herald, Chambliss said he believes that a short-term deal will be worked out before the nation's debt ceiling is crossed Aug. 2, but emphasized the need for a long-term solution.

"I don't want to see Congress continue to use half measures and smoke-and-mirror budget gimmicks to address our debt crisis. I am concerned about the consequences of a default, yet I believe we will find a short-term solution," he wrote.

Chambliss, one of the charter members of the bipartisan "Gang of Six," who developed a recommendation to handle the debt crisis through a mixture of spending cuts and tax reform that has been endorsed by the White House, said that a band-aid solution will not work.

"Regarding the Gang of Six, it's important to understand that our focus has always been on a long-term solution to America's debt problem, not a short-term issue like the debt ceiling that we're faced with now," Chambliss said. "Our outline combines spending cuts with tax reform -- getting rid of special-interest loopholes that everyone else pays for -- to lower rates and grow the economy."

Currently, Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and President Obama are deadlocked over how best to address the debt crisis.

The president has threatened to veto any measure that requires a second vote before the 2012 elections. Boehner has suggested legislation that would raise the debt limit by $1 trillion while cutting federal spending by $1.2 trillion, but conservatives in his own party say it isn't enough.

By contrast, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, has suggested a bill that calls for more substantial cuts up to $2 trillion, but also calls for an increase in taxes for the wealthiest Americans.