Former Rep. Frenzel: Obama Must ‘Initiate the Discussion’ on Entitlements

Feb 15, 2011 2:35pm

ABC News’ Rick Klein reports:

President Obama’s budget proposal avoids the contentious issues surrounding entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare – issues that Obama himself said today need to be handled “in a serious way.”

On ABC’s “Top Line” today, we asked former Rep. Bill Frenzel, a former ranking member of the House Budget Committee, about what has to come next.

“There’s not going to be daylight until they sit down and begin to talk seriously,” said Frenzel, R-Minn., now a scholar with the Brookings Institution.

“And these are difficult things because if you’re liberal you don’t want to look soft on entitlements, and if you’re a conservative you don’t want to look soft on taxes. But somebody’s got to sit down and do it. The president is the logical person to initiate the discussion — to lead them. And once he starts I think it will be easier than a lot of people think.”

Frenzel told us that the president should have paid more heed to the recommendations of his deficit commission, which suggested ways to control spending under entitlement programs.

“Instead the president played mostly with domestic discretionary spending, a small part of the budget, gave the Defense Department a couple of love taps, raised taxes a little bit, but ignored totally entitlements,” he said. “And I think his budget really has to take that into account. The debt ratio is far too high under his budget, and it simply has to come down or the markets won’t forgive us.

Watch the interview with former Rep. Bill Frenzel HERE.

 

We also checked in with National Journal’s Major Garrett about the president’s budget proposal and news conference today.

Watch that portion of “Top Line” HERE.

 

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