Members of San Diego’s congressional delegation were on the same stage, but not the same page Thursday during a panel discussion in San Diego that focused first on the federal budget deficit.
U.S. Reps Brian Bilbray, Susan Davis, Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa met at the Marriott Marquis & Marina Hotel during a luncheon sponsored by the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce.
There was lip service about finding middle ground for a compromise between the Republican-controlled House and Democrat-controlled Senate.
But the GOP team members -- Bilbray, Hunter and Issa -- weren’t bullish on taxation as a part of the deficit solution.
"If we need to have additional revenue, we'll certainly put it on the table,” Issa said in a separate interview. “But we're not going to put it on the table first. We did that back during George Herbert Walker Bush's time, and we didn't see the cuts in government for years later — in another administration.”
Issa also takes exception to a remark in President Obama's speech last week that the Republican budget approach caters to the nation's wealthiest citizens.
"The President's left-wing rhetoric is what we don't like and don't need in Washington," he said. "The President says we've got to go after the millionaires, but his major tax increases begin well into the middle class."
Davis, a Democrat, was left to go it alone against the three Republicans from the local Congressional delegation.
The absence of her colleague on the 'blue' side of the aisle, Bob Filner, was explained as Filner having been "unable to attend."
Issa was then overheard by the moderator muttering that Filner was "unwilling" to attend.
For her part, Davis said in an interview that she hopes the President's budget can be reconciled with the version promoted by House Republican leaders, if they adopt a balanced approach.
"But I don't think we can do it if we start with the premise that we only have to help the people who probably need our help the least,” Davis said. “That's not going to work.”
Meantime, neither political side is winning in the court of public opinion.
A Gallup Poll released Thursday gave Congress a 17 percent approval rating.
A Washington Post/ABC News poll showed 58 percent of Americans were opposed to the President's budget plan and 64 percent to that of the House Republicans.