Behind the Gang of Six's Resurrection: Tom Coburn

Many Senate Republicans now back deal that includes new revenues
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 20, 2011 7:52 AM CDT
Coburn's Return Resurrects Gang of Six
Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., reveals his "Back in Black" plan to reduce the federal deficit, Monday, July 18, 2011, during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Tom Coburn got the old gang back together yesterday—the “Gang of Six” that is—reviving hopes that the Senate could forge a major debt reduction deal. “I’m back,” Coburn declared before a crowd of almost 50 senators from both parties, to a resounding round of applause. Coburn’s return was absolutely crucial, Politico notes in a look behind the scenes, because the gang’s two other Republicans—Mike Crapo and Saxby Chambliss—wouldn’t have signed off on a deal without him.

Coburn dramatically left the group in May, but kept discussing it with Chambliss, a close friend. Coburn is also close with President Obama, who immediately endorsed the gang’s plan for $3.7 trillion in debt reductions. The plan calls for broad spending cuts—including to Medicare and Social Security—alongside $1 trillion in new revenues from a tax code overhaul. Coburn, Crapo, and Chambliss held a closed-door Q&A with fellow Republicans yesterday, prompting a few to publicly declare their support. (More Tom Coburn stories.)

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