Virginia Senator Mark Warner says he wishes he were more involved in the current budget negotiations, but he says he remains optimistic the President and House Speaker John Boehner will reach agreement, and avoid taking the country over the fiscal cliff.
"I wish I was in that room," Warner told WDBJ7 in an interview Tuesday afternoon. " I think I could help the President and the Speaker get a deal, but I'm not." Warner said he believes there is an 80 percent chance lawmakers will reach agreement and avoid the automatic cuts.
A demonstration Monday outside Senator Warner's Roanoke office urged him to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Warner said we need to make sure the promise of Medicare and of Social Security are here 20 years from now, but he also said everyone will be touched by the cuts that are necessary to put the country's finances in order.
"The idea that a program or a tax break suddenly has to be off the table, that's how we got into this 16-trillion-dollar debt to start with," Warner told us. "Everyone wants their taxes low and they want their programs protected. You know we've been doing that for a long time. It's time to come clean with the American people and say everybody's going to have to have some skin in the game to get this fixed."