WASHINGTON -- The Democratic chairman of the Senate Budget Committee says if members of a Senate deficit group fail to come to grips soon with the deficit problem, "we won't be relevant to this discussion."

But North Dakota's Kent Conrad declined in an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press" to say specifically where the so-called "Gang of Six" Democrats and Republicans stand in discussions on various debt-reduction strategies.

Appearing on the same show Sunday, Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn said, "The country can't afford for us not to have an agreement."

Neither Conrad nor Coburn would get into specifics about the group's discussions. Coburn did repeat his general opposition to tax increases. Conrad said he believes the American people would support tax reform as one way toward deficit reduction.