Letters From the West

Obama calls Idaho’s Crapo about resolving debt crisis

Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo

Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo

Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo spoke with President Barack Obama Wednesday by telephone about the federal deficit.

Crapo would not discuss the details of his private conversation.

“We discussed the debt crisis and the importance of finding a solution to move forward,” Crapo said.

Crapo was a member of Obama’s debt commission, which is named for Wyoming’s Alan Simpson, a longtime U.S. senator, and Erskine Bowles, a former White House chief of staff under President Clinton. He also was a member of the bipartisan group of senators known as the “Gang of Six” who were pushing a mix of spending cuts, entitlement reform,a new tax framework and a series of enforcement mechanism to hold Congress to its budgets.

Since nothing has happened for more than a year Crapo now says the package needs to be $5 trillion total. Congress still has to work through the continuing resolution that will resolve the 2013 budget that should have passed before last October.

Then it must pass a budget for 2014, Crapo said. But for all of this to happen the “toxic” political climate needs to change.

Crapo said his talk with Obama was the beginning.

“I expect we will continue talking,” Crapo said. “There will be I hope, broader discussions between senators, representatives and the White House.”

Obama’s efforts to reach out is significant, Crapo said.

“I think it’s critical we get past the rhetorical and partisan battles that are taking place in Washington and I think this was helpful,” he said.

Rocky Barker is the energy and environment reporter for the Idaho Statesman and has been writing about the West since 1985. He is the author of Scorched Earth How the Fires of Yellowstone Changed America and co-producer of the movie Firestorm: Last Stand at Yellowstone, which was inspired by the book and broadcast on A&E Network. He also co-authored the Flyfisher's Guide to Idaho and the Wingshooter's Guide to Idaho with Ken Retallic. He also was on the Statesman’s team that covered the Sen. Larry Craig sex scandal, which was one of three Pulitzer Prize finalists in breaking news in 2007. The National Wildlife Federation awarded him its Conservation Achievement Award.

Posted in Letters from the West