Republicans Say Obama's Budget Doesn't Cut Enough
Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET
President Obama today unveiled his $3.73 trillion budget for 2012, which promises $1.1 trillion in deficit savings largely achieved through spending cuts -- but Republicans are saying the plan doesn't do enough to bring down the nation's bloated debt.
In a statement this morning, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), head of the House Budget Committee, warned that "the president's budget accelerates our country down the path to bankruptcy."
"The president's budget spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much - stifling job growth today and leaving our children with a diminished future," Ryan said. "In this critical test of leadership, the president has failed to tackle the urgent fiscal and economic threats before us."
In his own statement today, House Speaker John Boehner said, "The president's budget isn't winning the future, it's spending the future."
"By continuing the spending binge and imposing massive tax hikes on families and small businesses, it will fuel more economic uncertainty and make it harder to create new jobs," he said.
Rep. Scott Garrett (R-N.J.), chairman of the Budget and Spending Task Force for the Republican Study Committee (RSC), said on Fox News this morning that the spending plan would put the United States "greater in debt than ever before" and on an "unsustainable course."
"The budget that he's given us really just kicks the problem down the road," Garrett said.
Garrett, along with other Republicans and deficit hawks, have specifically criticized the plan for avoiding any changes to entitlement programs like Social Security (Mr. Obama's plan does find $62 billion in savings to help pay for Medicare payments to doctors, but otherwise overlooks entitlements). The Senate Republican Communications Center this morning released a press release entitled "White House Budget Lands With A Thud," pointing to criticism that the budget proposal doesn't go far enough in terms of spending cuts.
"Americans don't want a spending freeze at unsustainable levels," Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said, the Associated Press reports. "They want cuts, dramatic cuts."
However, as CBS News' Senior Political Producer Rob Hendin points out this morning, cutting federal spending is easier said than done.
Garrett said this morning that the RSC, a group of 165 conservative members of the House, has been "out in front" of the deficit debate. Indeed, the group last month released a proposed set of federal budget cuts that they say would reduce federal spending by $2.5 trillion over the next decade. Most of its savings, however, would come from cutting non-security discretionary spending (this exempts Medicare, Social Security and the Pentagon).
Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, Ryan said that early reports on the budget proposal showed that the president "is abdicating leadership" on the issue of the debt.
"Borrowing and spending is not the way to prosperity," he said. "Today's deficits means tomorrow's tax increases, and that costs jobs. So all this borrowing and spending doesn't work."
Ryan and other Republicans will have the chance to scrutinize the president's budget in a series of congressional hearings next week in Ryan's committee, in which Office of Management and Budget Director Jacob Lew and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner are set to testify. Ryan is expected to unveil the GOP 2012 budget plan in April.
In the meantime, House Republicans plan to vote this week on their own plan to dramatically cut federal spending for this fiscal year alone.
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