The ink was barely dry on President Obama’s budget request for FY2013 when House Republicans began lashing out in opposition while Democrats hurried to the president’s defense.
With partisan bickering peppered throughout the congressional reaction today, Republicans abhorred the blueprint as “irresponsible” and “reckless” while Democrats praised it as “balanced” and “fair.”
It’s the type of disagreement that has become characteristic of Congress over the past year.
Paramount to the GOP’s concerns are the president’s plan to add $1.3 trillion to the deficit in 2013, and raise $1.5 trillion in new taxes over the next decade by allowing tax cuts for wealthier Americans to expire. The president’s budget also imposes a 30 percent tax rate on millionaires, also known as the “Buffett Rule.”
“The president’s budget is a gloomy reflection of his failed policies of the past, not a bold plan for America’s future,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, said in a statement today. “It is bad for job creation, our economy, and America’s seniors.”
Over the next year, the president’s budget calls for $350 billion in spending on jobs programs, $476 billion in infrastructure projects and $2.2 billion in manufacturing research and development– an increase of almost 20 percent.
“President Obama has laid out an innovative blueprint for restoring opportunity for all Americans and for constructing an economy that is built to last,” Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., stated. “The budget is balanced, fair, and responsible and is an investment in our economic growth, in job creation, and in a stronger, thriving middle class.”
Republicans, however, wholly disagreed with the Democrats’ outlook of the proposal.
“President Obama says he wants an economy that is ‘built to last’ but the budget he released today outlines a plan that is built to come in last,” Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., stated. “The economy we need is an economy built to grow – one that encourages small businesses, entrepreneurs, innovators and inventors to take a risk, succeed and create jobs.”
Other top Democrats, like Minority Whip Steny Hoyer, believe Obama’s budget creates a path to stabilizing the country’s debt while also spurring job creation.
“Both of these are critical goals that will bring greater certainty to our markets and to families around the kitchen table,” Hoyer, D-Md., stated. “America is a place where everyone deserves a fair shot and where all of us have a responsibility to pitch in our fair share. Our budget ought to reflect that spirit and a determination to meet our greatest challenges.”
Republicans pointed out that the budget breaks the president’s 2009 promise to “cut the deficit we inherited by half by the end of my first term in office” – a statement poised to be repeated over the next 10 months as the GOP looks to win back the White House.
“When President Obama took office in 2009, he promised to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term, but over the past four years his failed policies have resulted in trillion dollar deficits each year,” Cantor, R-Va., said. “The president’s budget will make our economy worse today, and result in debt, doubt and decline in the coming years.”
The budget shows a gross debt of $25.9 trillion by the end of the 10-year budget window in FY2022. Rep. Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget committee, called this “a recipe for a debt crisis and the decline of America.”
“The broken promises and recycled gimmicks contained in this budget have dramatically widened this president’s growing credibility deficit,” Ryan said. “Our families, seniors, children and grandchildren deserve better than this reckless budget and this dismal failure of leadership.”
House Republicans said that the president’s request “does nothing” to address entitlement spending.
“The greatest threat to Americans’ retirement security is the status quo, and the president has offered seniors nothing more with this budget,” Boehner said.
Ryan has maintained that when House Republicans release their own budget blueprint later this spring, the GOP is “not backing off on the kinds of reforms” from last year’s controversial budget, known as the Path to Prosperity.
Ryan’s comments drew a rebuke from Democrats, who said the GOP’s proposals for entitlement reform would “end Medicare as we know it.”
“Concerned about even more backlash against the Republican quest to end the Medicare guarantee, the GOP spin doctors are out in full force to confuse seniors about their real intent for Medicare,” said Nadeam Elshami, a spokesman for Pelosi. “Americans won’t be fooled: This year’s Ryan budget would end the Medicare guarantee in the same way last year’s does–by letting Medicare wither on the vine and increasing costs for seniors.”