That's the message activists from 19 states brought to Capitol Hill today in a push to get lawmakers to reduce national debt.
The national Fix the Debt campaign, co-chaired by former Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell, is ramping up efforts in Washington.
Its leaders include political heavyweights from across the political spectrum who have agreed that solving the debt is more important than adhering to strict ideology.
"There are certain realities – political realities – that get in the way of meaningful solutions. If lawmakers are just going to play to the base, the country's going to continue to go to hell in a hand basket," said T. J. Rooney, co-chairman of the group's Pennsylvania chapter and former chairman of the state Democratic Party.
He and chapter member Cookie Driscoll of Gettysburg are meeting with several Pennsylvania lawmakers and aides today. They are promising to work to minimize political repercussions for delegation members who negotiate in good faith.
"I've poked some of these people with sticks enough over the years and now I want to say 'I have your back. If you come up with a reasonable, meaningful solution, we will stand up and make sure you're not pummeled politically," Mr. Rooney said in an interview between meetings.
The action day comes a week after Mr. Rendell spoke at a separate event in Washington, advocating for a blend of spending cuts and revenue increases.