White House calling: Idaho Republican Sen. Mike Crapo wouldn't discuss details of his private conversation with President Barack Obama on Wednesday. "We discussed the debt crisis and the importance of finding a solution to move forward," Crapo told the Statesman.
Working on a deal: Crapo was a member of Obama's debt commission, chaired by longtime Wyoming Sen. Alan Simpson and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles. He's also one of the bipartisan group of senators known as the "Gang of Six" advocating spending cuts, entitlement reform, a new tax framework and enforcement mechanisms.
Cost is rising: Inaction means that fixing the debt crisis will take a total of $5 trillion in cuts and revenue, Crapo said. Congress has to come up with a "continuing resolution" to resolve the 2013 budget, which should have passed before last fall. And it must pass a 2014 budget.
Changing the climate: For all that to happen, the "toxic" political environment needs to change, Crapo said. His talk - and other Obama conversations this week - are the beginning: "There will be, I hope, broader discussions between senators, representatives and the White House."
Optimistic Idahoan: Obama's outreach 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.