Three former Minnesota members of Congress of differing political persuasion came together to call for a renewed effort to bring the national debt under control.
"We've spent too much money," said former Republican Sen. Rudy Boschwitz. He joined with former Democratic U.S. Rep. Martin Olav Sabo of Minneapolis and former U.S. Rep. Tim Penny, a Democrat who later ran for governor as a member of the Independence Party of Minnesota.
The three came together to form a Minnesota branch of a national group known as Fix the Debt, which is advocating for an agreement to bring the debt under control. Rather than advocate a particular solution, Penny said, they are pushing Congress to discuss all possible options, including new taxes and entitlement reform.
"Forget the pledges and talk to each other," was the advice from Sabo, who represented Minneapolis from 1979-2007 and chaired the House Budget Committee.
Penny, who represented the 1st Congressional District in southern Minnesota from 1982-1994, said the group hopes to educate Americans about the importance of controlling the debt.
Boschwitz, a U.S. Senator from 1978 to 1991 who served on the Senate Budget Committee, encouraged Congress to take on Social Security, which he said is the easiest of the major budget areas to fix.
"Fix what's fixable. Social Security is fixable," he said. "If they can do that, Congress will develop a good deal of credibility that it can attack other problems."
Sabo and Boschwitz said on the national debt's current trajectory, interest on the debt will reduce spending for other programs and create a drag on the economy.
The organization's website is www.fixtthedebt.org