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Responses to Obama's budget

From NBC's Shawna Thomas, Luke Russert, and Kelly O'Donnell
Here's a wrap up of responses to President Obama's budget proposal out today. (For some details on the budget, see First Thoughts.)


Speaker John Boehner (R-OH):

"The president's budget will destroy jobs by spending too much, taxing too much, and borrowing too much. 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 jobs.

"The president's budget isn't winning the future, it's spending the future. A group of 150 American economists signed a statement sent to the White House yesterday that says we need to cut spending to help create a better environment for job creation in our country. Our goal is to listen to the American people and liberate our economy from the shackles of debt, over-taxation, and big government. That's why the new House majority will vote this week to cut $100 billion in discretionary spending over the next seven months - with more cuts to come - in contrast to the Obama administration, which has proposed no cuts to the current fiscal year's budget while simultaneously asking for an increase in the national debt limit. And in the coming weeks, Budget Chairman Paul Ryan will offer a comprehensive budget for the next fiscal year that will contrast sharply with the president's job-crushing FY12 budget."

Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA):

"President Obama says he wants to win the future, but the future will not be won by repeating the mistakes of the past and failing to live up to our responsibilities in the present. The future will be won by bold and honest leadership that addresses our challenges head on.

"Today, the President missed a unique opportunity to provide real leadership by offering a budget that fails to address the grave fiscal situation facing our country. At a time when unemployment is too high and economic growth is elusive in part because of the uncertainty created by our skyrocketing debt, we need serious reforms that will help restore confidence so that people can get back to work. We need a government that finally does what every other American has to do in their households and their businesses, and that's to live within our means. Instead, President Obama's budget doubles down on the bad habits of the past four years by calling for more taxes, spending and borrowing of money that we simply do not have.

"President Obama has used tough rhetoric about the need to get our fiscal house in order, even assembling a bipartisan commission to address entitlement spending which accounts for more than half of our federal budget including Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Unfortunately, the President again failed to put action behind his words by neglecting to even acknowledge these tough issues that everyone knows drive up our debt and must be reformed if they are to meet their obligations for younger Americans.

"As our government continues to borrow forty cents of every dollar that it spends, our Democrat colleagues have offered no credible plan to get Americans back to work or seriously address our debt. In contrast, House Republicans are fully committed to using every tool at our disposal so that we can boost long-term economic confidence and help businesses to grow. And this week we will cut at least $100 billion of wasteful spending, a first step toward getting our fiscal house in order.

"For years, Democrats have proposed more government spending to create jobs, resulting in the largest debt and deficits in history while unemployment remains too high. Republicans believe in free markets and the ability for small businesses and entrepreneurs to keep more of their own money so they can invest, grow their companies and hire employees. This is the difference, and it will be clearly evident in the coming weeks as Chairman Paul Ryan and House Republicans introduce our own budget, one that addresses the challenges we face so that our children have the same hope, opportunity, and ability to achieve that our parents gave to us and their parents to them."

House Budget Chair Paul Ryan:

"The President's budget spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much - stifling job growth today and leaving our children with a diminished future. In this critical test of leadership, the President has failed to tackle the urgent fiscal and economic threats before us."

"Failing to heed the warnings of economists and the demands of the American people, the President's budget accelerates our country down the path to bankruptcy. Far from 'living within its means,' the President's budget puts the government on track to nearly double in size since the day he took office - a direct result of his party's reckless spending spree. His budget destroys jobs by imposing a $1.6 trillion tax hike, adding $13 trillion to the national debt and fueling uncertainty in the private sector.

"We cannot tax, spend and borrow our way to prosperity. Where the President has fallen short, Republicans will work to chart a new course - advancing a path to prosperity by cutting spending, keeping taxes low, reforming government, and rising to meet the challenges of our time."

Republican Study Committee Chairman Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH):

"Thanks to House conservatives, the spending culture in Congress is beginning to change. The White House still hasn't gotten the message, however.  Even as Americans are looking for Washington to cut back, President Obama wants to burden families and employers with higher taxes, more spending, and more debt.

"The President failed a crucial test of leadership by ignoring the need for reforms that will preserve Medicare and Social Security for future generations.  These safety-net programs are in serious trouble without significant reforms, yet this budget has nothing to say about the problem.

"House Republicans are working to reduce spending and put the country's budget back on the path to balance.  Americans know that prosperity does not spring from government's power to tax, borrow, and spend.  We need to rein in Washington's massive spending deficits and give American job-creators the freedom to grow once again."

Sen. Bob Corker:

"The president has missed an opportunity to show real leadership on the number one issue threatening our country's future. Getting spending under control and reducing our deficit will be difficult without presidential leadership. I hope in the coming weeks he will come to the table in a meaningful way to address these issues," said Corker. "As we approach our debt limit of $14.29 trillion, I see no better time to impose a fiscal straitjacket on Washington. We need to vote on and pass spending cuts this year, and we need to pass the CAP Act Senator McCaskill and I have offered to force Congress to dramatically cut spending over 10 years. By capping spending - discretionary and mandatory - to a declining percentage of GDP, we would put our country on a path to fiscal sanity, while incentivizing Congress to pass policies that promote economic growth."

The Commitment to American Prosperity Act, the "CAP Act," would:
(1) Put in place a 10-year glide path to cap all spending - discretionary and mandatory - to a declining percentage of the country's gross domestic product, eventually bringing spending down from the current level, 24.7 percent of GDP, to the 40-year historical level of 20.6 percent, and
(2) If Congress fails to meet the annual cap, require the Office of Management and Budget to make evenly distributed, simultaneous cuts throughout the federal budget to bring spending down to the pre-determined level. Only a two-thirds vote in both houses of Congress could override the binding cap, and
(3) For the first time, eliminate the deceptive "off-budget" distinction for Social Security - providing a complete and accurate assessment of all federal spending.
The Corker-McCaskill CAP Act is currently cosponsored by Senators Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and John McCain (R-Ariz.).

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX):

"President Obama's timid budget proposal represents a missed opportunity to lead. It increases the national debt by nearly $11 trillion, raises taxes, and ignores the recommendations of the President's own bipartisan debt commission. Republicans are ready to show we are serious about making these tough choices and getting the boot off the neck of American entrepreneurs and small businesses."

NBC's Shawna Thomas reports that Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), vice chair of Budget committee, this morning made brief remarks that set up the GOP's prepared response to the budget with the line that it's "a budget that unfortunately spends a little bit too much, taxes too much and borrows too much again." House Budget Chairman Ryan and Senate Budget Committee ranking member Jeff Sessions (R-AL) will hold a presser this afternoon on the budget.

"In the preview of what we've seen so far it is a continuation of a, as our chairman has said, a budget that unfortunately spends a little bit too much, taxes too much and borrows too much again," Garrett said. "The President has indicated to us that it's imperative that we sign the raising of the debt limit but at the same time we look at this budget and we see that the debt of the federal government continues to grow at outstanding rates and he's going... to ask us to do so again."

When asked if he sensed there would be any common ground between the GOP and the president on this budget, Garrett couldn't seem to find any this morning.

"Well he, he says that he wants to work with us to begin reigning in spending," Garrett said. "Most of what we have seen as far as preliminary numbers go in exactly the opposite direction. Most of what we've seen is that the actual amount of borrowing will be going, as I said before,  in an increased direction and that's why you're actually seeing a doubling of the debt since the time this administration came into office. On the tax side of the equation, the president said he wanted to work with us, basically to place less of a burden on the American taxpayers. But we see here again that it goes in the opposite direction about $1.5 trillion increase in the opposite direction, in that direction, as well. And he also said he wanted to care, as you said, for our future generations, our children and our grandchildren,  but this is just going to place even our heaviest burden on them as well. So we're more than happy, I think all of us on our side of the aisle to reach a hand out to the administration to work where we can but there is very little that we see in this so far that there's commonality on spending."


Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer (D-MD):

"Today, President Obama released his proposed Fiscal Year 2012 budget. The president's budget makes the tough choices we need to reduce spending and put our nation's fiscal house in order; in fact, it would reduce our deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade. At the same time, however, the budget identifies those investments we need to grow our economy and create jobs-investments in out-building, out-innovating, and out-educating competitors around the world. President Obama's priorities-protecting our fiscal future while investing in growth-stand in strong contrast to the priorities of Republicans. Their spending bill for the rest of this fiscal year would make indiscriminate and short-sighted cuts to the investments our economy needs to stay competitive. I hope that Republicans will, instead, work with President Obama to reduce our deficit without sacrificing America's competitive edge."

Budget Committee ranking member Chris Van Hollen (D-MD):

"The President has put forth a budget that reduces our deficit, while also investing in our future. Two years after the President inherited the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression and a structural deficit that came from years of fiscal irresponsibility, we have made progress. But we must do more to invest in job creation and economic growth in the short-term, as well as get our nation on a long-term, responsible path to fiscal sustainability. This budget makes an important step towards both those goals.

"There is no question President Obama has made some tough decisions. But this budget also keeps in mind that we need to make smart choices that will create more jobs, lift up middle-class families, and keep our economy growing. While I don't agree with everything in this budget, it is a responsible place to start. It prioritizes national investments that will help our economy continue to recover and keep America competitive, focusing on important investments in things like infrastructure, education, and research. It also extends tax cuts for the middle class, while rejecting tax breaks for the wealthiest 2 percent. And it represents an important down payment on getting our fiscal house in order.

"The President's budget stands in sharp contrast to the House Republicans' proposed funding bill for the remainder of the year. We need to get serious about debts and deficits in this country - but while Democrats propose smart, precise cuts, the GOP wants to blindly slash in the short-term and has no plan for long-term fiscal sustainability. The President's budget is a responsible proposal that will help America move forward, while the reckless Republican bill will cost jobs and hurt the economy."