Sen. Graham And Others Call for Entitlement and Tax Reform

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) put revenue on the table Monday night, in an interview on CNN's The Situation Room. Graham spoke out against sequestration and the damage that it would do to the Department of Defense, but also said that it brought an opportunity to agree upon a comprehensive plan.

Speaking on the sequester, Graham said:

To me this is a bipartisan problem. I voted against this deal because it is a lousy way to cut $1.2 trillion, which is imminently achievable. This is a chance to do the big deal. I'm willing to raise $600 billion in revenue if my Democratic friends are willing to reform entitlements and we can fix sequestration together.

We know the a comprehensive deal will require both tax and entitlement reform in order to reduce future deficits. It was good to see Graham call for both last night, but he has not been the only one. Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) called for more revenues and spending cuts on CBS's This Morning. Sen. John McCain suggested that he would be willing to look at "revenue closers," or tax expenditures, in a interview on Fox News Sunday. And Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA) recently said that he was willing to consider additional revenue in order to avoid sequestration.

Supporting both more revenue through tax reform and cutting spending through entitlement reform will be difficult for many lawmakers. But as we've said frequently here on The Bottom Line, the only way we are likely to solve our deficit problem is through bipartisan compromise that does both. Lawmakers need only to look at the recent framework from former Fiscal Commission co-chairs Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson - it is difficult to come up with a plan that contains the needed $2.4 trillion in deficit reduction without taking a hard look at our tax code and growing health care spending.