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Monday
Jan242011

Debt Looms Large on Senators' Minds

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sens. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn. and Kent Conrad, D-N.D. told ABC News they want to hear President Obama talk about solving the nation's growing debt problem when he speaks to the nation on Tuesday in his State of the Union address.

Lieberman said he wants Obama's speech to "deal with the biggest long-term threat to America's strength and our economy and that is the debt.  And I hope the President will really be hands on and say he's willing to take political risks if we are, to get America's books back in balance for the sake of our children and grandchildren."

Sen. Conrad explained why the country's debt is so difficult to address.

"The American people say: don't touch Social Security, don't touch Medicare, don't cut defense.  That's 84 percent of the federal budget.  If you can't touch 84 percent of the federal budget -- and, by the way, they also don't want to touch revenue.  You're down to 16 percent of the budget, at a time where we're borrowing forty cents of every dollar they spend," Conrad said.

"There needs to be leadership to help the American people understand how serious this problem is and that it's going to take a lot more than cutting foreign aid and taxing the rich," Conrad explained.  "You're not going to solve the issue that way."

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, on the other hand, told ABC News that she was less concerned with the content of Obama's speech and more concerned with his follow-through on helping businesses.

"Will he really get his regulatory commissions to cut back on the regulations that are hurting the growth of business?  Will he agree to some changes in the Obamacare which is keeping people from hiring?  I can tell you, I'm all over my state.  That's what I hear," Hutchison said.  "They're not going to hire people if they are looking at these big fines and big expenses in the health care bill."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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