Pressure builds for debt reduction

By Jeanne Sahadi and Ted Barrett


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- The push to come up with a plan to reduce national debt got a bipartisan bear hug in the Senate on Tuesday.

Three lawmakers who sat on President Obama's bipartisan debt commission -- Sens. Kent Conrad, Tom Coburn and Mike Crapo -- convened a meeting of more than 30 senators from both parties "to make sure everyone comes to consensus on how big the problem is and how real it is," Coburn told CNN.

Sen. Ron Wyden, who attended the meeting, said senators want to figure out a serious "down payment" on debt reduction and tackle one structural problem.

"I believe there is a sense that if you're going to turn this around and grow the economy, you're going to have to deal with one, major, long-term issue this year," he said. (Data visualization: Spending crunch ahead)

Conrad, who chairs the budget committee, said a broad effort -- sooner rather than later -- is needed.

"I think it's important to move on a comprehensive plan. Our whole challenge is so great I think you have to move on a broad front, really a comprehensive plan," said Conrad, who has been pushing for a fiscal summit between the White House and both parties in the House and Senate.

Separately on Tuesday, a bipartisan bill was introduced to establish a cap on spending at 20.6% of the economy as measured by the gross domestic product, on part with the 40-year historical average. Currently it's close to 25% and is projected to remain above 23% for the rest of the decade.

Several of the attendees at Tuesday's meeting are also part of another bipartisan group of senators organized by Sens. Mark Warner and Saxby Chambliss who are calling on the Senate to start tackling debt reduction this year.

Warner and Chambliss intend to introduce legislation this month that would call for many of the debt-reduction proposals put forth by president's debt commission.

-- Sahadi is a senior writer at CNNMoney. Barrett is a CNN congressional producer. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,156.85 24.88 0.15%
Nasdaq 4,562.19 9.43 0.21%
S&P 500 2,001.57 2.59 0.13%
Treasuries 2.60 0.01 0.42%
Data as of 12:23am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Bank of America Corp... 16.77 0.06 0.36%
Apple Inc 101.58 0.72 0.71%
Yahoo! Inc 42.59 -0.12 -0.28%
Microsoft Corp 46.52 -0.24 -0.51%
Alcoa Inc 16.28 0.12 0.74%
Data as of Sep 17

Sections

Alibaba founder Jack Ma could earn as much as $867 million from his company's market debut. More

The Federal Reserve is probably not going to raise interest rates until the summer of 2015 at the earliest. More

Frederick Hutson launched Pigeon.ly in 2012 to help inmates communicate with their friends and family. He's on target for $1 million in sales this year. More

Occupy Wall Street offshoot Strike Debt says it has abolished nearly $4 million in private student loan debt for students who attended Everest College, part of Corinthian Colleges. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.