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Bowles, Simpson tell policymakers to get serious on debt reduction

WASHINGTON — The bipartisan heads of the federal commission that pushed a sweeping deficit reduction plan in 2011 urged President Obama and Congress to stop playing “small ball” in dealing with the nation’s debt.

Instead, policymakers should compromise to reach a bold agreement to cut spending and raise revenue, said Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson, who co-chaired the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform.

“Our generation created this mess, and it’s our generation’s responsibility to clean it up together,” they wrote in an opinion article in Politico. “We do not have the time or the luxury of leaving this problem for the next generation to solve.”

Just weeks after striking a deal to avoid most of the tax increases set to hit at the start of the year, the White House and congressional Republicans are at a stalemate on large automatic spending cuts looming on March 1.

Quiz: How much do you know about looming federal budget cuts?

Bowles, who served as White House chief of staff for President Clinton, and Simpson, who was a longtime Republican senator, criticized both parties for “continual fiscal brinkmanship” the last two years.

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