May 7th, 2009
10:45 AM ET
9 years ago

Gregg slams Obama budget cuts

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.

Related: 'This country will go bankrupt, says Gregg

"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."

Filed under: Judd Gregg • Obama administration
soundoff (38 Responses)
  1. Jeff Royer

    Hey Judd,

    As a former resident of New Hampshire I'm curious to know the amount of budget cuts that were put in place when George W. Bush was in the White House? I did a Google search to see what your reaction was to his proposed cuts and I'll be darned if I couldn't find anything!

    May 7, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  2. NH knows better!

    Judd Gregg is a butthead.

    He's done NOTHING for us here in NH except embarrass us with his headline grabbing BS

    May 7, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  3. StuckinmoderationMari

    Of course...... what's new? Isn't the GOP's constant gripes, complaining, demonizing, criticizing ....... OLD NEWS?

    May 7, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  4. Karl

    What a sore loser...

    May 7, 2009 12:42 pm at 12:42 pm |
  5. CitizenJane

    Yep, un hun, gotta ya Gregg. It's too bad that over 3/4 of the current budget is result of having to clean up the greed from the past 8 years. Hiliary was right, it took a democrat to clean up the mess from Bush I and it is taking a democrat to clean up the mess made by Bush II. No problem, put it all on Pres. Obama if it makes you sleep better at night.

    May 7, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  6. Jill

    At least Pres. Obama is making budget cuts. How many previous presidents have? Sen. Gregg why do you have to be so negative. President Obama has a lot to deal with.

    May 7, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  7. SS

    HMM let's see

    There should be a competition...

    Let's have two equal organizations, one ran by President Obama's admin and the other by the last admin and see what happens to the future growth. In fact what they should do is do an overlay of the last admins 8 years and the this admins future 8 years and do a comparison. I bet President Obama comes out by a mile...

    May 7, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  8. Chi Town

    So shut up Gregg....

    Bow, Apologize or get out of the way!

    May 7, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  9. Rush to your death

    Here's a metaphor for you: "It's as if you were behind the driver's seat for the past eight years and once you become the passenger you start to complain that the tires are bald, the oil hasn't been changed and the engine is overheating."

    May 7, 2009 12:46 pm at 12:46 pm |
  10. maf

    It is hard to believe that the Republicans can not stop themselves from the economic criticism! It is one after another lining up talking about fiscal conservatism. It is truly surprising that none of them dared broach the subject during the time of GWB. Overspending – BAD, cutting the budget – BAD, following through on campaign promises – BAD. Well, just keep it up and 2010 and 2012 will be BAD results for the GOP.

    May 7, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  11. jAYjAY

    good to see he's as consistent as he was with Bushs budgets..............................NOT

    May 7, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  12. Anthony R. Seta

    $17B in cuts for programs that are no longer necessary is a tangible gain for the nation. It may not be enough for the opposition party (what is enough for them?), but we have to tackle this stuff line by line. I love this approach and would respect a dem or republican president for doing these types of difficult things. Regardless of how frivolous or unneccesary a program is, there will always be defenders of the program and these defenders will speak on the senate floor, perform interviews on cable TV and write editorial op-eds to defend their positions. This is tough business, but I'm glad that this process is beginning. Nice work Obama! And Senator Gregg, I understand and respect your position, but as I said – $17B saved is $17B saved. It's a beginning.

    May 7, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  13. white woman in Hawaii

    A Republican critizing Pres. Obama? Is this news? This is the only thing the Republicans seem to be able to do.

    May 7, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  14. Citizen from NY

    Two things on my list to NEVER EVER cut budgets on: Our Defense, and the elderly.

    May 7, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  15. Jennie

    What else would you expect mr. gregg to do? It's so predictable, and so easy to ignore.

    May 7, 2009 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  16. judy

    Wow, another republican with great ideas!!...not

    May 7, 2009 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  17. rhoward

    I'm sure that the cuts Pres. Obama listed today were, by no means, the only cuts he thinks the government needs to make. It's a start. The only thing is that when it gets down to it, neither Republicans nor Democrats, will have the balls to cut things out of the budget like corporate and farm subsidies and their pet projects because they'd so afraid they wouldn't be re-elected. So, Senator Greg AND the rest of you in Congress that complain these cuts aren't enough, put your money where your mouth is and do something about it besides grabbing a microphone and grandstanding.

    May 7, 2009 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  18. simon/Orlando

    He's right. This is like the people who get a refund on their income taxes every year and think the government is giving them money. They forget how much they have actually paid.

    May 7, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  19. David

    Hes absolutely right. This is the biggest bait and switch politics of all-time. It is less than 1% of obamas budget and all of you brainwashed liberals will praise obama because you refuse to acknowledge the entire truth to the story.

    May 7, 2009 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  20. Citizen from NY

    Actually, referring to my previous comment:, add on one more item and make it three things on my list to NEVER EVER cut budgets on: (1) Our Defense; (2) the elderly; and (3) Health/scientific research. The last one I came up with because I saw a headline that said something about the public becoming or is too complacent about the new 2009 H1N1 swine flu. If you read Preston's Hot Zone, you will understand exactly how dangerous a new unknown virus can be, and it will make you understand that all the hype about this new swine flu is not hype - we just don't know right away how dangerous a new bug is or not is, and we need our health communit/scientist communit/researchers to be ALWAYs on top of this, so we can't cut them funding.

    May 7, 2009 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  21. Really

    Stating what percentage of the budget is being cut out and than going on to talk about it in terms of the deficit is a disengenuious argument. See If we had not WASTED BILLIONS of dollars in the republican war of desire OR the govt. had not had to prop up the blood sucking banking industry to the tune of BILLIONS of dollars would things be different? of course...........Who was in charge of all of these things again? GOT MIRROR?

    May 7, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  22. Proud American

    Senator Judd should rethink his "math". 1/2 of 1% compared to a few grains of sand in the desert, or a few teaspoons of water in the ocean???? Progress may not come in huge leaps, but in small steps. Negative reactions to everything our current administration tries to do would have more credibility if they were not so consistently silly.

    May 7, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  23. Henry Miller, Cary, NC

    Obama seems to be a very smart man, so smart he thinks the rest of us are too dumb to notice that his "cuts" are just about microscopic compared to the tons of money the Feds waste.

    May 7, 2009 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  24. Nathan,

    I don't recall Judd speaking out against the spending Bush was doing which didn't benefot the average American at all. These Republicans think we're all stupid. We won't forget the Bush years and how they sat on their hands while he ruined the country. An now they want to act like they care about fiscal responsibility. All Judd and his boys care about are tax cuts for the rich, deregulation so that they and there corporate partners can steal as much as they want and sending young men off to die so that he and his wealthy friends can keep all the stuff they've accumulated. Obama won becasue the people are on to you and the rest of those Republicans.

    May 7, 2009 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  25. Charles Greene

    So I guess there is no point in planting one new tree due to the fact that we cut down 20 in its place? Spending and investing are not the same thing. Investing does cost money, however the return will...over time be much greater. Example: The pell grant. Students do not pay for this, it is free. This allows students to get an education to get the job which allows them to give back. It is a circle! no investment no return. Spending vs investing.... am I the only one who gets this?

    May 7, 2009 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
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