"Time is short, our debt is mounting and credit markets around the world are watching like hawks -- or vultures," said the Op-Ed piece published in Politico.
The authors are former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., and former White House staff chief Erskine Bowles, who jointly led the president's National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and former Sen. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and former budget director Alice Rivlin, who together led the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force.
"Extreme partisanship" will make an accord challenging, they wrote, but "all parties" must "develop trust and mutual respect" and "put their respective sacred cows on the table."
"Failure to reach an agreement this year is not an option," the leaders said, and could lead to "unaffordable interest payments in excess of $1 trillion per year."
They called for "shared sacrifice by all except the most vulnerable," including restraining health care costs, entitlements and military spending closing tax loopholes.