PN MEMO: Reaction to President’s Budget – Disappointment

February 16, 2011


To: Interested Parties

From: Gretchen Hamel

Date: 2/16/11

Re: President Obama’s Budget

I – like many of you – was very disappointed in the budget submitted by President Obama yesterday.  It was an opportunity for the White House to seize the moment, and demonstrate they understood and identified with the anxiety that Americans are experiencing concerning the historic and massive budget deficit.  Instead, the President’s budget proposes spending more than our nation can afford, and results in the highest budget deficit on record.  The message sent this past November was very clear: voters expect fiscal responsibility and our economy to begin moving again.  Unfortunately, it is highly unlikely the President’s budget will accomplish either in the near term, as the only way to invest in tomorrow is to start cutting spending today. To demonstrate that point, I thought reviewing some commentary from Republicans and Democrats alike, as well as media outlets across the country, would be useful:

Public Officials And Members Of Congress on President Obama’s FY 2012 Budget

Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-ND): “We need a much more robust package of deficit and debt reduction over the medium- and long-term. It is not enough to focus primarily on cutting the non-security discretionary part of the budget, which accounts for just 12 percent of spending this year. Instead, we need a comprehensive long-term debt reduction plan. … It must include spending cuts, entitlement changes and tax reform that simplifies the tax code, lowers rates, and raises more revenue.” (David Rogers, “Budget 2012: Obama Vs. House Republicans,” Politico, 2/14/11)

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI): “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.” (Ryan Press Release, 2/14/11)

Senator Ben Nelson (D-NE): “The President’s 2012 budget starts the debate about getting spending under control in Washington. The budget lays out cuts the administration says will reduce the deficit by $1 trillion over the next 10 years but unfortunately the biggest reductions arrive in the later years.” (Nelson Press Release, 2/14/11)

Senator 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.” (Cornyn Press Release, 2/14/11)

Editorial Boards on President Obama’s FY 2012 Budget


The Washington Post: “The President Punted. Having been given the chance, the cover and the push by the fiscal commission he created to take bold steps to raise revenue and curb entitlement spending, President Obama, in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, chose instead to duck. To duck, and to mask some of the ducking with the sort of budgetary gimmicks he once derided.” (Editorial, The Washington Post, 2/15/11)

L.A. Times: “President Obama’s budget for fiscal year 2012 landed with a thud Monday, laying out short- and long-term tax and spending plans that disappointed lawmakers on both sides of the aisle. The proposal was a remarkably tame response to Washington’s fiscal problems, not the bold statement about belt-tightening that the White House had suggested was coming. Yet the biggest shortcoming is that it all but ignored the most important long-term financial challenge, which is the growing cost of entitlements such as Medicare and Medicaid.” (Editorial, L.A. Times, 2/15/11)

The Wall Street Journal: “This $3.73 trillion budget does a Cee Lo Green (“Forget You,” as cleaned up for the Grammys) to the voter mandate in November to control spending. [I]t ignores almost entirely the recommendations of Mr. Obama’s own deficit commission. No wonder the commission’s Democratic co-chairman, Erskine Bowles, said Monday that this budget goes ‘nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare.’ And he’s an ally.” (Editorial, The Wall Street Journal, 2/15/11)


The reaction to President Obama’s budget introduction was unmistakable: disappointment.  Now that the White House has decided to forgo its opportunity to seriously address government spending, the responsibility falls to Congress.  It is our sincere hope that Congress leads in making significant cuts to government spending so that our nation moves toward a sustainable fiscal path.  The reality is that citizens will no longer allow those in the nation’s capital to maintain the status quo.  Just as both parties contributed to the record deficits, both parties need to lead in solving the problem.


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