Republicans continue to call for much deeper cuts in President Barack Obama’s proposed budget. Earlier this week Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said Democrats were lining up “behind the President’s timid proposal for a partial spending freeze.”
McConnell said, “Democrat leaders in Congress intend to join the President in resigning themselves to a future of growing debts and deficits at a time when Americans are demanding cuts instead.”
Democratic Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler told a group that he fears the budget ax will get out of control and hurt the economy.
(Here is the text of Senator McConnell’s speech)
“As the debate over government spending comes into focus this week, I think it’s worth noting once again how this debate has shifted in recent weeks.
“After two years of bailouts and Stimulus bills, we’re finally talking about how much government should cut instead of how much it should spend.
“Obviously, the details matter. And we’ll be working those out in the weeks ahead. But the fact that this debate has shifted is a testament to the millions of Americans who insisted that their voices be heard on this issue. They’ve made a difference. It’s important we acknowledge that.
“Now the question shifts to whether those in power will actually follow through in any serious way. Will Democrat leaders in Washington really do something to rein in a government we can no longer afford, or will they just pretend to, and hope the American people focus on their words instead of their actions.
“Unfortunately, the early signs are discouraging.
“The President’s response to the growing national alarm about spending and debt was a proposal to freeze government spending at the already-irresponsible levels that he himself has set over the past two years — levels that, if maintained, will only intensify the current crisis by putting us deeper and deeper in debt.
“The consensus on the President's proposal is that it’s both unserious and irresponsible, and that, despite what the President may say, he's not in fact treating this crisis with the seriousness it demands. The
President even seemed to concede the point yesterday, saying his budget wasn’t adequate to the task and suggesting that maybe Congress could do something more meaningful than he has.
“And what do we find in Congress?
“Well, we find one party in the House of Representatives making a genuine effort to cut spending and debt, and we find Democrats in the Senate announcing today that they intend to line up behind the
President’s timid proposal for a partial spending freeze.
“In other words, Democrat leaders in Congress intend to join the President in resigning themselves to a future of growing debts and deficits at a time when Americans are demanding cuts instead.
“So here’s what we’ve learned this week: on the most pressing issue of the day, the President and Democrat leaders in Congress have decided to take a pass. They're either unwilling to admit that Washington needs to live within its means, or they’re completely unwilling to make the tough choices that will get us there.
“It’s hard to believe, really.
“Americans are screaming at us to do something about a $14 trillion dollar debt, the President proposes a budget that nearly doubles it, and Democrats clap their hands in approval.
“Maybe Democrats were so focused on passing their health care bill last year they didn’t notice what’s been going on in Europe.
“Maybe they were so focused on defending their Stimulus that they missed a national uprising right here at home about the spending and the debt they’ve racked up.
“Maybe they missed the fact that while they were busy adding three trillion dollars to the debt, nearly three million Americans lost their jobs.
“Maybe they’ve been so focused on passing their agenda that they didn’t notice the fact that the American people just repudiated their entire agenda.
“They need to get real.
“The men and women who were sent to Washington this year weren’t sent here on a mission to keep spending at the levels this administration has set. They were sent here to change the culture, to convince the administration that it needs to change its ways.
“Democrats in Washington seem to think they can wait it out; that if they just agree to freeze current spending levels in place people will think they’re listening. Don’t they realize that current levels of spending are the reason we just had the biggest wave election in a generation?
“The Senior Senator from New York seems to think that anything short of freezing current spending levels is extreme.
“I’ll tell you what’s extreme: extreme is to insist in the middle of a jobs and debt crisis that government has to spend a trillion dollars more than we take in every year.
“Extreme is a view of the world that says government will not live within its means, even when the American people demand it.
“Extreme is a view of the world that says the survival of this or that program is more important than the survival of the American Dream itself.
“Extreme is telling our children they may have to do without because we refuse to do with less.
“So I would suggest to my Democrat colleagues that stop thinking about what they can get away with and start thinking about what’s actually needed to solve this crisis.
“I suggest they start listening to the American people who are telling us in no uncertain terms that a freeze won't cut it.”
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