Entries in Government Spending (6)


GOP Weekly Address: Sen. Mike Lee Says Budgets Are About Setting Priorities

US Senate(WASHINGTON) -- In this week's Republican address, Sen. Mike Lee, R-UT, says the  budget produced by Senate Democrats "grows the government, not the economy," while the budget passed by House Republicans this week "reduces spending and debt and balances in 10 years."

Lee begins the address by saying Senate Democrats finally took up its annual budget after not passing one in four years and says the president is "a day late and a dollar short" for announcing he will submit his budget the second week of April instead of the first Monday of February, as required.

The budget isn’t just about dollars, he says, it's about "common sense."

"A budget is the only way to end the nonsense of Washington’s out of control spending," he says. "Reckless government spending has laid nearly $17 trillion of debt onto the backs of hardworking Americans."

Lee says budgets are not only economic documents, but also reflect the nation's moral choices and shape its society for the future.

“That’s why the budget Republicans proposed in the House of Representatives puts its trust in the American people," he says. "We want dollars and decisions in your hands and not in the hands of bureaucrats. We know that if you can keep more of your hard-earned money, you’ll use it to help your community, to save for your child’s college tuition, and to deploy it in ways that will create jobs and grow your local economy."

Democrats disagree, he says, and instead think Americans don't send enough money to Washington. Their budget includes a one and a half trillion dollar tax increase, he says, "on top of the hundreds of billions they already added to your tax bills at the beginning of the year."

Lee says Democrats have no plan to save the nation's entitlement programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, despite the fact everyone, including the president, knows that doing nothing is not an option.

“Budgets are about setting priorities. Republicans realize that we have a moral obligation to spend your hard-earned tax dollars wisely," he says. "We should spend only what we need to cover the constitutionally authorized functions of government and not a dollar more. That’s why we support reforms to fix the programs Washington should be funding, to eliminate the programs it shouldn’t, and balance the budget."

Unfortunately, Lee says, the president cuts spending on important services such as border security, first responders, veterans and law enforcement.

“Republicans recognize that keeping dollars, decisions, priorities and power in the hands of the people is what has made America the greatest civilization the world has ever known.  Now is the time to return to that model.  Working together we can, we must and we will restore the greatness and prosperity of our nation," he says.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Obama at Deficit Town Hall: 'Hopeful' Both Sides Can Come Together

ABC News (file)(ANNANDALE, Va.) -- Kicking off the first of three town halls that will take him from Virginia to California to Nevada over the next three days to sell his plan for deficit reform, President Obama on Tuesday promised to even look under the cushion for couch coins to help “get the nation’s finances in order.”

“I’m not going to quit until we’ve found every single dime of waste and misspent money,” the president said. “We don’t have enough money to waste it right now. I promise you that. We’re going to check under the cushions -- you name it.”

Speaking in front of a student and teacher audience at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale, Va., the president tailored his speech from last Wednesday, when he announced a broad vision for deficit reduction, to demonstrate how the cost of doing nothing would cause “serious damage” to the economy and to students who are trying to build a life for themselves.

“Like any student on a tight budget…America has to start living within its means,” President Obama said. “There are powerful voices in Washington; there are powerful lobbies and special interests in Washington. And they’re going to want to reduce the deficit on your backs. And if you are not heard, that’s exactly what’s going to happen.”

The speech was not a campaign event, but it looked like one. The president’s shirt sleeves were rolled up. He referred to the audience as “voters.”

The president laid into Republicans for their own deficit plan, saying that “the House Republican budget that they put forward, they didn’t just not ask the wealthy to pay more; they actually cut their taxes further.”

“My view is, we need to live within our means while still investing in our future -– cutting where we can while investing in education, investing in innovation, investing in infrastructure, and strengthening the safety net provided by programs like Medicare so that they’re there for this generation and for next generations. “

With an optimistic nod, the president said that he believes that Democrats and Republicans can come together to get this done.

“Shockingly enough, there will be some politics played along the way,” he said. “There will be those who say that we’re too divided, that the partisanship is too stark. But I’m optimistic. I’m hopeful. Both sides have come together before. I believe we can do it again.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Commends Congressional Leaders on Budget Deal

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- In his weekly address, President Obama lauded congressional leaders for reaching a budget deal. 

"It means small businesses can get the loans they need, our families can get the mortgages they applied for, folks can visit our national museums and parks and hundreds of thousands of Americans will get their paychecks on time," he said.

Obama commended Congress for making an agreement that not only keeps the government operating, but protects investments.

"Beginning to live within our means is the only way to protect the investments that will help Americans compete for new jobs, investments in our kids' educations, student loans and clean energy and life saving medical research," said Obama.

He said such an agreement to invest in the country's future while making the largest annual spending cut in recent history, was an agreement that required compromise. He commended lawmakers for not letting political and social issues keep them from coming to an agreement. Provisions for services like Planned Parenthood, for example, was one of the topics that hindered Congress from coming to a final budget sooner.

The president said he agreed to make some cuts that he would not have typically endorsed, given "better circumstances." He referred to certain infrastructure projects that will be delayed and federal programs that may be cut.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Reaction Streams In to GOP Budget Proposal

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Republican Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan unveiled a budget Tuesday for 2012 that would cut government spending by $6.2 trillion more over the next 10 years than the one President Obama released last month.

Ryan says his plan would save money by changing the Medicaid program for the poor, ending corporate welfare, eliminating Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and reducing discretionary spending to below 2008 levels.

Even with these cuts, the budget would not be balanced by the year 2021.

To address the long-term problem, the Ryan plan would transform the Medicare program beginning in the year 2022, changing it from a government-run system that pays health bills for seniors into a system under which seniors buy insurance plans subsidized by the federal government.

The Senate’s top Republican Mitch McConnell praised Ryan’s budget proposal as “a serious and detailed plan” and ripped Democrats for opting to “sit on their hands” and “take potshots at these proposals from the sidelines.”

“Anybody can say that our nation’s problems need to be addressed — but history will show that Chairman Ryan is one of those who actually stepped up to do it. And he should be applauded for that by people of good will on both sides,” McConnell said on the Senate floor.

Likely GOP presidential hopeful Tim Pawlenty responded to Ryan’s proposal Tuesday, saying that thanks to the budget chairman’s leadership, “the American people finally have someone offering real leadership in Washington” and said that President Obama has “failed to lead and make tough choices.”

Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich., called Ryan’s plan “thinly veiled.”

“We need to do everything possible to responsibly reduce our debt, but we should do that by holding government accountable and eliminating programs that aren’t working, not by putting all of the burden on middle class families and seniors,” she said.

Stabenow said the Republican budget would “dismantle Medicare for tens of millions of Americans.”

“Pulling the rug out from under seniors who have paid into Medicare and Social Security their entire lives is wrong, and extreme plans that dismantle benefits seniors have earned will not pass the Senate.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Reid: Senate Republicans Won't Vote On Their Own Spending Bill

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In the Senate, it seems something seemingly as simple as getting a party to vote on its own bill is a challenge. Take Tuesday's developments.

According to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, both parties agreed at last Thursday's budget meeting with Vice President Biden that the Senate would vote on both parties' dueling spending proposals, including the GOP’s House-passed bill.

"Now Republicans are reneging on that deal," Reid said Tuesday on the Senate floor. "They don't want to vote on their own plan."

Democrats argue that Senate Republicans do not want to have to cast an up-or-down vote on the House-passed bill because if they oppose it, they risk alienating the Tea Party and if they support it, they risk alienating the more moderate side of the party.

So will the Senate vote Tuesday? That remains up in the air. Democrats say they have no intention of letting Republicans avoid a vote on the House-passed bill. But to do so, it won't be as easy as Democrats had hoped. Ultimately, when the Senate does vote on the House-passed bill, it may merely turn out to be a procedural vote, rather than a final up-or-down vote.

A Republican aide argues that Reid's claims were more an attempt to distract reporters from Democrat Joe Manchin’s criticisms of President Obama earlier in the day than "anything based in reality."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Harry Reid: GOP Spending Cuts Threaten Cowboy Poetry Festival

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- While lawmakers in Congress fight over whether to cut spending for the rest of the fiscal year by $6 billion or $57 billion, consider this: The government in February racked up an all-time record monthly deficit of $223 billion, according to the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office.

That was CBO's preliminary estimate based on the January deficit figures and the daily Treasury Department statements during February. It's not the official deficit figure that the government releases -- that will come from Treasury later this month.

But Senate Republicans on Tuesday highlighted the CBO estimate in an attempt to rip Democrats for not going far enough in their proposed cuts.

"Washington will add more to the debt this week than they want to cut for the entire year -- and that's the farthest their leaders say they're willing to go," the Senate's top Republican Mitch McConnell said on the Senate floor. "Anything more, they say, is Draconian. I'll tell you what's Draconian: Draconian is what happens if Democrats don't get real about our nation's fiscal crisis."

"Democrats are going to have to do a lot better than this if we stand a chance of getting our nation's fiscal house in order," he added. "Frankly, it's embarrassing. The American people deserve better than this. It's time for Democrats in Washington to face facts. And, as I said yesterday, it's time for the president to get off the sidelines and lead."

Democrats, on the other hand, argue that the GOP plan goes way too far.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid cited "a cowboy poetry festival" in Nevada as evidence of the harmful cuts that the House-passed spending bill would make.

The House GOP's bill, Reid said, "eliminates the National Endowment of the Humanities, National Endowment of the Arts. These programs create jobs. The National Endowment of the Humanities is the reason we have in northern Nevada every January a cowboy poetry festival. Had that program not been around, the tens of thousands of people who come there every year would not exist."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio