Durbin: Getting US economy back in order needs bipartisanship

Southern Illinoisan

U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin says a bipartisan effort in Washington, D.C. is the only thing that will reduce the national deficit and get the country back on stable financial footing.

The Springfield Democrat and majority whip in the U.S. Senate outlined the nation's financial trouble during a Thursday morning speaking event before Southern Illinois community and business leaders at John A. Logan College in Carterville.

"We are deeper in debt as a nation now than we've ever been - going back to World War II," Durbin said. "We borrow 40 cents for every dollar we spend in Washington on everything from defense of this nation to food stamps. That is simply unsustainable."

Durbin has been on the record in favor of cutting deficit spending, increasing some taxes and reforming government entitlement programs, he said.

The legislator was one of 18 members of President Barack Obama's National Commission on Fiscal Responsbility and Reform (Bowles-Simpson Commission). He worked earlier this year on a proposal to cut $4 trillion from the national debt over the next decade, which has received support from both Republicans and Democrats.

Durbin said Standard & Poor's recent downgrade of the U.S. credit rating had more to do with politics than finances.

"If the S&P's rating downgrade has a bright side, I hope it is that it musters a bipartisan response in members of the House and Senate to stand up and begin working together to solve our nation's problems,"Durbin said, calling on the Joint Select Committee to make changes in revenue, entitlements and spending as they work toward a solution expected by Thanksgiving.