It is an uncomfortable spot for Sen. Mark Warner (D- Virginia) to be in. As the debate rages over the best way to avoid the impending "fiscal cliff", Warner is relegated to being a spectator despite being a member of the U.S. Senate.
Warner isn't alone. As the talks continue, the nitty gritty appears to be taken up between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Vocal members of the House and Senate, like Warner aren't in a position to offer any real substance to the discussion, even though they might have plenty of ideas.
For instance, Warner thinks that now is the time to make a grand bargain, not pass it along to a time where the tension is not so great.
"The single biggest thing to create job growth, my personal belief, is to do a real $4 trillion debt deal," Warner said. "That will get money off the sidelines, back invested into America."
The only problem is that Warner's ideas aren't getting any further than media interviews and town hall meetings. Warner concedes he isn't on the front lines, a position that is foreign to him given his background as a successful businessman and governor.
"There is an awful lot of us in both parties who have tried to put forward good ideas," he said. "We have all kind of stood down."
Warner said the rank and file members are willing to give the Speaker and the President some time to come up with a deal, but he is ready to become a more active participant if given the opportunity.
"I'd be happy to be the broker in between these guys," Warner told me. "I wish I was in the room."
Warner avoided any direct criticism or support of his Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D- Nevada) who is the point person on the negotiating process for the Senate. Reid has been relegated to waiting to see if the White House and the House Republicans can come up with some sort of agreement, before the Senate takes an active role in the discussion.
As the negotiations continue, Warner remains optimistic that the short term problems are avoided, while the long term debt issues continue and only grow. He believes there is an 80% chance a fiscal cliff deal is hatched, but only a 50-50 chance that the deal will hold up for longer than a few months.
Warner contends that even if both sides get what they want, it won't even start to address the real problems connected to the deficit crisis. He believes everyone needs to give something, and that something needs to be a lot more than what they are currently proposing.
"The sooner we start some of those reforms, the better," he said.
Our full interview with Senator Warner can be found below: