U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin said today he's hopeful the downgrade of the nation’s credit rating by Standard & Poor’s will become a “wake-up call” for bipartisanship in Washington after weeks of gridlock.
The number two Democrat in the Senate said everything including entitlements such as Medicare as well as reform and restructuring the tax code to generate new revenue should be on the table next month during renewed deficit-cutting talks in Congress.“If the Standard & Poor’s rating downgrade, whether you believe it or not, has any value, I hope it will muster a bipartisan response of members of the House and Senate who will stand up and say, ‘Alright, that’s a wake-up call,’” Durbin told a City Club of Chicago audience.
“What that Standard & Poor rating said more than anything was to get the economics right, you’ve got to get the politics right. We can’t have this continued deadlock. We can’t have these high-noon scenarios being played out month after month,” said Durbin, the state's senior senator.
Reflecting his post-rating downgrade approach, Durbin later told reporters “everyone’s to blame, both political parties” for the problems in Washington.
Asked if tea party freshman Republicans were to blame, Durbin acknowledged the partisan fighting “comes on the heels of the election of a number of people in the House.” But, Durbin said, “in an effort to try and get beyond where we are today, to a better place, I’m not saying that as much. I’m really trying to focus on how we can sit down together.”
Durbin, previously a member of a presidential debt and deficit cutting commission and one of the Gang of Six bipartisan senators who proposed a $4 trillion debt reduction package, said he has not yet heard if he will be on a new 12-member bipartisan panel to propose deficit cuts as part of the recent debt-ceiling extension.