Budget plan gets party-line reaction

Feb. 14, 2011 at 4:32 PM
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WASHINGTON, Feb. 14 (UPI) -- The 2012 budget plan put forth by U.S. President Obama would send the country barreling toward financial ruin, the House Budget Committee chairman said Monday.

"Failing to heed the warnings of economists and the demands of the American people, the president's budget accelerates our country down the path to bankruptcy," committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said in response to Obama $3.7 trillion budget blueprint. "Far from 'living within its means,' the president's budget puts the government on track to nearly double in size since the day he took office ... ."

Ryan said Obama's budget plan is a jobs-buster because it imposes a $1.6 trillion tax hike, adding $13 trillion to the national debt and fueling uncertainty in the private sector.

"We cannot borrow and spend our way to prosperity," Ryan said.

The president said his proposal would slow the burgeoning deficit by $1.1 trillion during the next 10 years. The savings would equal next fiscal year's projected $1.2 trillion deficit, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office says.

Ryan said he had hopes Obama's bipartisan debt commission would open "adult conversations" about the country's economic future, but Obama didn't include any "significant" recommendations.

"This is a punt," Ryan said.

Ryan said the Republican budget plan, which cuts $100 billion from the deficit this fiscal year, "advancing a path to prosperity by cutting spending, keeping taxes low, reforming government, and rising to meet the challenges of our time."

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee picked up on Ryan's complaints about the blueprint.

"President Obama has failed to confront the fiscal and economic challenges before us," Sessions said. "Instead, he continues down the same unsustainable path: growing the government, weakening the economy, and increasing the burden of debt on each and every American."

If the country follows the path Obama laid, "it will be a national tragedy," Sessions said.

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., appealed to Obama and Republicans to look beyond this year to medium- and long-term spending.

"(We) need a much more robust package of deficit and debt reduction over the medium- and long-term," Conrad said. "(We) need a comprehensive long-term debt reduction plan, in the size and scope of what was proposed by the President's Fiscal Commission. It must include spending cuts, entitlement changes, and tax reform that simplifies the tax code, lowers rates, and raises more revenue. "

Both sides must be willing "to move off their fixed positions and find common ground," Conrad said. "In his State of the Union address, the president called for a 'principled compromise' to get the job done. It is time to make that sentiment a reality and reach agreement on a bipartisan long-term debt reduction plan that can be enacted this year."

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