Sen. Gregg: Specter Switch Means ‘No Checks and Balances’

By Lindsey Ellerson

Apr 29, 2009 2:57pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports: On ABCNews.com’s "Top Line" today, Sen. Judd Gregg told us that Sen. Arlen Specter’s decision to switch parties will have huge ramifications for the nation, with Democrats able to “pretty much do whatever they want.” Gregg, R-N.H., nearly joined President Obama’s Cabinet as Commerce secretary. But on the day Congress is approving the president’s budget over the opposition of Republicans, Gregg said he’s concerned that the president’s plans will mean unbridled spending. Of Specter’s decision — which leaves Democrats on the verge of a veto-proof majority of 60 votes — Gregg said: “It means that you basically have a one-party system now, and there’s no checks and balances on this massive expansion of the size of government.” “Yes, the president is very popular,” he added. “He’s a great guy, a nice guy. I like him, and he’s certainly pursuing a lot of programs very aggressively. But you still have to look at the specifics of his programs and what they’re going to bring about.” “Clearly they’re in control, and they now have unilateral control with the movement of Senator Specter over to the Democratic side,” Gregg said. “They have their 60 votes here in the Senate — or will probably have their 60 votes in the Senate — and so they can pretty much do whatever they want, and I’m a little concerned about what they want to do.” The budget, he said, “dramatically increases the debt that our children will have to pay for, and puts us on a path which is not sustainable. It has a trillion-dollar deficit for the next 10 years on average, and that leads to a national debt which is 80 percent of GDP. And to try to put that into perspective, our national debt today is about 40 percent of GDP, and we couldn’t get into the European Union. In other words, Latvia could get in but we couldn’t get in with that type of a debt-to-GDP ratio.” Gregg also said he’s not reconsidering his decision to retire from the Senate at the end of 2010, despite calls from some Republicans for him to seek another term. “We’ve got some really talented people that will want to run, and I’m looking forward to supporting them,” Gregg said. Click HERE to see our interview with Sen. Gregg. Also today, Ana Marie Cox of Air America and The Daily Beast shared her analysis of Specter’s flip — plus what to watch for in tonight’s presidential press conference. The top item on her drinking game for the evening — that is, the one most likely to get repeated again and again: “H1N1 virus.” Click HERE to see our interview with Ana Marie Cox.

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