‘Gang of Six’ Rides Again, as 12

Photograph by Melina Mara/ The Washington Post via Getty Images

Before an afternoon meeting at the White House with Congressional leadership and the President, a member of the Gang of Six and chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, Senator Kent Conrad with reporters concerning a bipartisan deficit-reduction package put forward by the six Senators.

The ‘Gang of Six’ is back.

And bigger.

The six senators who proposed a bipartisan, $3.7 trillion deficit-reduction plan last summer have doubled their core membership and are working to reach consensus on a legislative draft, Senator Kent Conrad said today.

The North Dakota Democrat, a member of the original Gang of Six, said today in an interview that principles released in July had been translated into legislative language on which an expanded, 12-member group is working to agree upon.

They haven’t named the added six yet, and they have a lot of work to do.

“We have a draft,” he said. “It’s not agreed to. It’s not signed off on, but we have a draft.”

Conrad said the core group of 12 plus other interested senators met last night and will meet periodically over the coming weeks to build momentum for their proposals. Their next meeting is scheduled for June 19, when former New Hampshire Republican Senator Judd Gregg and former Democratic White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles will brief senators.

Bowles and former Republican Senator Alan Simpson of Wyoming co-chaired a budget and deficit task force appointed by President Barack Obama and advanced their own proposal which never was embraced.

“We’re trying to make progress,” Conrad said. “So that we’re able to do something after the election or before, if people were ready to move.”


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