WASHINGTON (CNN) – Sen. Judd Gregg, R-New Hampshire, noted Thursday that the $17 billion in cuts President Obama proposes in his 2010 budget would equal the operating budget of his own state for a few years. But Gregg, who almost joined the Obama administration, added the cuts are not enough.
The cuts represent "less than one half of one percent of the federal budget which will be approximately $3.5 trillion this year," Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee, said in Senate floor speech.
"It's as if you had a vast desert of sand," Gregg said. "It's as if this were the Gobi Desert or the Sahara Desert and you came along and you took a few pieces of sand off the desert – it literally will have virtually no impact on the deficit and the debt as we move forward into the out years [of federal fiscal planning] because of the fact that while you are taking these few dollars out, which I congratulate the President for trying to do – they are adding back in massive amounts of spending."
Gregg also used an aquatic metaphor to describe the new administration's cuts.
"So, you are taking a little teeny spoonful of water out of the ocean while you are dumping a whole river into the ocean so the water levels go up and the debt levels go up and burden on our children goes up and the cost of the government and the debt of the government is and remains an unsustainable event for our nation and for future generations."
Gregg, who withdrew his nomination to be Commerce secretary, parted ways with Obama over policy differences before he could be confirmed by his fellow senators. Since backing out of the Commerce spot, the New Hampshire senator, who is known as one of the keenest fiscal minds on Capitol Hill, has been a persistent critic of president Obama's spending and borrowing plans.
In March when Obama's budget blueprint was released, Gregg sounded an alarm bell, saying the country will go "bankrupt" if Obama's fiscal proposals were followed.
"It is as if you were flying an airplane, and the gas light came on and it said 'you 15 minutes of gas left' and the pilot said 'we're not going to worry about that, we're going to fly for another two hours,'" Gregg said in an interview with CNN's John King. "Well, the plane crashes and our country will crash and we'll pass on to our kids a country that's not affordable."