Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley says the budget plan for Fiscal Year 2012 presented Monday by President Obama would balloon the federal debt from today’s 14-trillion dollars to more than 26-trillion over the next decade. Grassley, a Republican, says instead of tax reform, the budget contains “the same scattershot tax increases used to pay for new spending.” He calls the budget “very disappointing.”
“The president says we’ve gotta’ live within our means but the budget nearly doubles the debt,” Grassley says. “How can the president say in one voice that government has to learn to live within its means, just like families do, but in the process of putting forth a budget actually doubling the debt?”
Grassley says the president isn’t using his bully pulpit to develop a national consensus on any issues that require leadership and the use of political capital. He notes, President Obama has been “very quiet” about the report that came out in December from the Budget Reduction Commission that he appointed.
Grassley says, “He has not given an endorsement to it and particularly when it comes to presidential leadership on doing something about what we call entitlements — Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid — and that being the biggest budget problem we have, and then to ignore the recommendations of his own commission, seems to me to be very puzzling.”
Grassley is a senior member of the Senate Finance Committee. That panel will be hearing testimony on the president’s budget plan today (1:30 P.M./Central) from Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and tomorrow (9 A.M./ Central) from U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner.
Grassley expects both of them to support Obama’s proposed spending plan. Grassley says, “Sometimes they get into a broader area of trying to defend the president’s budget as a whole, and then usually when you have a Democratic president, Democratic members of Congress will try and back up what the president said.” He says on any measure of debt, the president’s budget “makes things worse, not better.”
Grassley says the president is trying to avoid a national debate on entitlement spending.