Budget Chairman: Short-Term Extension Best Answer

July 21, 2011 - 8:58 AM

Debt Showdown

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., listens to a reporter's question outside of the Senate Chamber, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday, July 20, 2011.(AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The chairman of the Senate Budget Committee says it's impossible to enact spending cuts, a tax code overhaul and changes in benefit programs in the less than two weeks left before an Aug. 2 government default deadline.

Sen. Kent Conrad says a short-term extension of the debt limit is the most likely solution for Congress and the White House.

The North Dakota Democrat, part of the so-called "Gang of Six" senators, tells MSNBC he believes 40 senators back his group's $3.7 trillion deficit-reduction proposal and a program of tax changes and revisions in the Social Security and Medicare programs.

Conrad concedes in an interview that some proposals are unpopular, but says "we're all going to have to do things we'd prefer in a perfect world not to have to do."