Republicans in the Senate and House are ripping President Obama’s budget proposals, with Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) calling them “unserious” and “irresponsible.”
“This is not an ‘I got the message’ budget,” McConnell said in a floor speech. “It’s unserious and it’s irresponsible.”
Earlier today, House Republicans also gave Obama’s $3.7 trillion budget the thumbs down, with Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) saying it would “destroy” jobs, not create them.
“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 job,” Boehner said.
The administration has touted its budget for fiscal year 2012 as a responsible attempt to bring spending under control while making target investments in areas such as infrastructure, education and high-speed rail to help U.S. businesses and workers compete in a global economy. The Office of Management and Budget says its proposal would cut the deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade.
But the investments proposed by Obama sparked protests from Republicans, who will try to cut this year’s spending by $61 billion in a vote on a spending measure later this week.
McConnell accused Obama of trying to fund his “imaginary vision of the future,” and used caustic language to criticize the president’s proposals for more spending on green energy and high-speed rail.
“It’s a patronizing plan that says to the American people that their concerns are not his concerns,” said McConnell. “It’s a plan that says the president’s vision of a future of trains and windmills is more important than a balanced checkbook. It’s a plan that asks our children to pay for an imaginary vision of the future that may or may not come about.”
GOP leaders in the House are under pressure from conservative members to accept even bigger budget cuts than the ones they have slated for floor action. But it is unclear whether those proposals have a chance of getting through a Senate still controlled by Democrats.
The bickering within the GOP, and between Democrats and Republicans has increased the possibility of a government shutdown later this year. The existing measure funding the government expires on March 4.
Obama’s budget also proposed cuts to education, home heating and housing programs backed by Democrats. Indeed, senior administration officials cast some of the cuts as being made to programs they would not want to reduce in better budgetary times.
Democratic leaders in the House and Senate generally gave a positive review of the budget, however, saying the cuts were necessary given the nation’s $1.5 trillion deficit, as estimated by congressional budget examiners.
But Republicans said Obama was not proposing nearly the cuts necessary given the deficit. McConnell warned the administration’s proposal would force the nation to borrow more from China and other U.S. bond holders.
“It’s not an American value to borrow money for things that we don’t need and can’t afford,” said McConnell. “We will need a president who gets it and this president clearly does not get it yet.”