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Sen. Warner: Both parties have ‘unclean’ hands

photoU.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) speaks to K2M employees at their Leesburg office March 5. Warner said he’s “obsessed” with reducing the national debt, and he urged members of the business community to be more vocal in demanding action from Congress. Times-Mirror Staff Photos/Beverly Denny

It’s probably not the first time you’ve heard it: The future prosperity of America rides on what measures Congress takes to reduce the federal deficit.

U.S. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) harped on this sentiment March 5 in Leesburg, where he spoke to workers at the headquarters of K2M, an international medical device company.

Warner, a former governor of Virginia, will become the commonwealth’s senior Senator next year when Sen. Jim Webb, a Democrat, retires. 

“I’m obsessed about the issue of whether our country is going to come to grips with the $15 trillion in debt that we have,” Warner said early in his talk.

There’s no “Democrat- or Republican-only” answer to the debt and deficit, he exclaimed.

Known as the Democratic leader of the “Gang of Six”—a bipartisan group of Senators working on solutions for the national debt crisis—Warner said he’s been “extraordinarily frustrated” in the three years he’s been in the U.S. Senate.

The former venture capitalist millionaire went from being Virginia’s governor to being the “junior Senator in an institution that 92 percent of Americans think is totally dysfunctional.”

“And I’m part of the 92 percent,” Warner said.

“Both parties have got plenty of unclean hands” when it comes to the national deficit, he said. He commented that the United States has annually run a deficit for nearly seven decades, with few exceptions.

Social Security, which has been largely hamstrung because citizens are living longer than they were a century ago, has been a primary cause of the staggering debt, said Warner.

“When Roosevelt set Social Security at 65, that was in 1934, average life expectancy was 62 … When I was a kid, there was 16 people working for every one person on Social Security; today there are three people working for every one person.”

Everything, including entitlement and defense spending, must be “on the table” to reduce the debt, he voiced.

“I was embarrassed to be in the Senate last July and August, when we came close to this debt [ceiling] debacle, and this insanity that went on …,” he said.

While the politicians deserve most of the blame, leaders in the business community need to be more vocal in demanding their Senators and representatives work together.

“As a guy who’s a business guy longer than a politician, I was so frustrated and angry with the American business community,” he said.

The 80-minute discussion touched on education, the voting age, immigration and energy policies. Warner said he’s for an “all of the above” energy policy, meaning offshore drilling, wind and solar energy, and finding other alternative energy sources.

Immigration policies in the U.S. must ensure young bright minds aren’t returning to their home countries after being trained at America’s top universities, said Warner.

On education, there must be a stronger focus on math and sciences and secondary education, including technical colleges.

Job growth, he says, has come predominately from start-up companies – such as K2M – in the past two decades, noting that Fortune 500 companies on average have lost employment on a national basis.

Warner talked about his personal experience investing in Nextel when he was in his 20s. Though he graduated from Harvard Law School, he never practiced, something for which he often caught grief from his friends.

“They said to me, ‘Warner, you are so crazy. Go get a real job. Who is ever going to want a car telephone?’” Warner recalled.

Comments


Warner is still smarter than the average bear, including the one who is in office now as governor of Virginia who thinks that women are lesser beings.


Mark Warner is a joke. Super-wealthy, super-out of touch liberal.


According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, once widely respected by both parties, the Obama Care proposal would reduce the long term deficit, not increase it.  So Warner’s vote for it was not a contradiction to his concern about the growth of our national debt.


Slather everybody but himself.  He was “embarrassed to be in the Senate last July and August” yet he wasn’t a standout voice against raising the debt or the debt ceiling. I get email accounts of how all of Virginia Congressmen and Senators vote on all issues. Can’t see where Warner EVER voted contrary to what Harry Reid dictates.


I prefer a businessman (above) trying to work across aisles on real issues versus theocrats trying to control private lives. Just saying.


Look’n at the picture above, his hands don’t look none to clean.


I will give Warner credit that he is one of the few good guys in politics. And that he is mostly an outsider is good. That’s why I feel Romney is the guy to elect for president. Obama had his chance and has squandered it. Instead of giving money to the few, give it back to the taxpayers and let them spend the money. I didn’t cause the Mortgage problem, yet I’m paying for it because of other sneaky people. How about giving every home owner, regardless of yearly income, a 1-2% reduction in their mtg rate. I’d love to refinance but can’t and won’t be eligible under Obama plan.


he talks at the end about how job growth comes from start-up companies.  but in a demand problem recession…..how will that happen?  the confidence fairy is not nearby.  sigh…..


Warner got Virginia out of financial difficulties left behind by Gilmore and Allen.  Surprised?  He’s Smart!


Sen. Warner is a bleeding heart liberal who doesn’t represent Virginia’s conservative demographic.


Warner making some great points.


Senator Warner says now that he is obsessed with reducing the national debt, but he did not seem very obsessed with reducing the national debt two years ago when he voted to pass Obamacare which has contributed deeply to our country’s financial jeopardy.


sigh….nothing but talk.  where to begin….we need to be concerned about the debt, sure.  but we can not cut spending enough to pay for the debt, we need to put people back to work.  we have a demand problem, and the business community are not hiring because the customers are not buying.  so the government needs to step in and repair are terrible infrastructure that we have.  that would put people back to work and make the economy better.  during a recession the government needs to spend money and during good times the government needs to take in money to pay off for the bad times.  sure the debt is important, but not as important as our slow recovery.

and for the social security thing about nowadays 3 people working for every person on it.  many things wrong with social security, such as that it is not the same thing that it was when it started….it started as a pay as you go, and now it is not like that at all.  in fact the money put into it is being raided to pay for all of the tax cuts started in the 80’s.  another problem: there is a cap so once you hit the ceiling, you no longer have to contribute for the rest of the year.


just more empty rhetoric from a politician who is playing to the middle and business community and in response showing no understanding of the issues.  Senator, please stand up for something.

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