NEW ALBANY — Reducing the deficit and forming a long-term spending plan that instills confidence in the nation — Sen. Joe Donnelly said those requests were the chief concerns he heard while meeting with Southern Indiana business leaders Monday.
Donnelly — a three-term member of the U.S. House who bested Republican Richard Mourdock in November to capture the Senate seat vacated by Dick Lugar — met with One Southern Indiana officials and spoke briefly with the media outside of the organization’s office.
His stop in New Albany was part of his four-day “I Work for You” tour that will span 18 Indiana communities.
Donnelly acknowledged there are “significant debt challenges” awaiting Congress and President Barack Obama. One of the most pressing issues is the federal debt ceiling, as some spending cuts will begin taking effect on March 1 if the debt limit isn’t increased.
“We’re not Republicans or Democrats first, we’re Americans first, and we need to work together to reduce the spending and to balance the budget,” said Donnelly, a Democrat from South Bend.
“We also need to let our creditors know that we’re good for the obligations that we have.”
During a press conference Monday, Obama said he would be willing to address the deficit and spending, but that those issues should be dealt with apart from the pending debt limit vote.
Republican leadership, including House Speaker John Boehner, said the deficit and the debt limit are intertwined.
“The American people do not support raising the debt ceiling without reducing government spending at the same time,” Boehner said Monday.
Another issue expected to soon come to Congress is gun-control reform. Vice President Joe Biden’s anti-violence task force is expected to publicly present its recommendations on gun control this week, and Obama has said he will present his own plan within days.