WASHINGTON (CNN) – Republican congressional leaders tore into President Barack Obama's proposed 2010 budget Thursday, arguing that his spending cuts will do little to stem a rising tide of red ink.
The White House released details earlier in the day outlining $17 billion in cuts from 121 federal programs. The total savings amounts to roughly 0.5 percent of the more than $3.5 trillion in spending approved for next year, or 1.2 percent of next year's projected $1.4 trillion deficit if the president's overall budget is adopted.
"With Democrats in Congress adding to the national debt at the rate of more than $100 billion every month already this year and with a budget that triples the already unsustainable public debt over the next decade, it is clear that there is not much more that we can do to protect our children and grandchildren from the unprecedented trillions in additional debt proposed by this administration," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, said on the Senate floor.
New Hampshire GOP Sen. Judd Gregg, who withdrew as Obama's commerce secretary-designate earlier this year, also criticized the cuts as minuscule in the face of current spending and deficit projections.
"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," Gregg said.
It "will have virtually no impact on the deficit and the debt as we move forward ... because of the fact that while (they) are taking these few dollars out ... they are adding back in massive amounts of spending."
House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, argued that Obama's proposed cuts are identical to cuts previously proposed by former President George W. Bush and rejected by the Democratic-controlled Congress. He also said House Republicans are working on their own package of proposed spending reductions.
"Over the next couple of weeks, you'll have a chance to see what real budget cuts look like," he said at a Capitol Hill news conference.
Boehner refused to indicate exactly how much money House Republicans want to cut, but his spokesman said the House GOP leadership would release its list of recommendations for cuts before Memorial Day.
Democratic congressional leaders replied by noting that Obama's proposed cuts were only the start of a long budget review process. They also noted that Obama had inherited a poor financial situation from his predecessor.
"I have asked House committee chairs to search out areas of possible savings in the departments, agencies, and program under their jurisdiction," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a written statement.
"House committees have already conducted 163 hearings, which will help inform our efforts as we review the president's proposed budget cuts and work with the administration to achieve additional savings."
Pelosi added that "the legacy of fiscal recklessness inherited by President Obama and the Congress will make our task more difficult, but we are prepared to make the difficult choices that are required to restore fiscal responsibility and strengthen our economy for the long-term."
House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt, D-South Carolina, said that "while the Congress is unlikely to agree with all the changes proposed by the administration, the process and the resulting proposals are a step in the right direction, and a sign of fiscal discipline."
Roughly $11.5 billion of Obama's proposed savings would come from the discretionary side of the fiscal 2010 budget - that is, for programs whose funding is not automatic. And roughly half of the savings would come from non-defense programs, a senior administration official said in a briefing call with reporters on Wednesday.
- CNN's Suzanne Malveaux and Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report.
Updated: 4:26 pm
OH Please....................give me a break.....the Republicans are such experts........they are sore losers, I know that for a fact!
Where were these indignant Republicans during the Bush administration when we were getting into this mess? They are a little late in finding their voices.
Tell me something new – really... Republicans didn't want stimulus, didn't want healthcare reform, didn't want education reform, didn't want energy independence, and now they don't even want $17 billions in spending cuts. They are already talking about "filibuster" on SCOTUS nomination without even having a nominee. They are sure living up to their "Party of NO" symbols.
Frankly, I am surprised they even have 40 seats in the senate right now.
But don't you see, senators, that it is Obama's plan to bring the country down to our knees so he can "remake" it to suit his Marxist ideas?
What cuts? That's a joke. It;'s like cutting an inch off of one strand of hair of a big-haired supermodel.
I say the best way to cut the budget is to get rid of all the whinning Republicans, that will save a tremendous amount of money and hot air.
For all those who say the Republicans are just the party of no and have no alternatives to offer, I say wake up and pay attention.
The Republicans already wrote an alternative budget that was defeated by the Dems. It spent less and had much smaller deficits.
They also have an alternative budget you can find on the National Council for a New America. For anyone who is truly interestred.
And the Republicans are putting together a list on spending cuts. They've already told the President it is in the works and Boehner has already done some interviews and identified some of the cuts. If anyone is truly interestred they can check it out.
Most Democrats are not interested because it would prove the Republicans are not just the party of no. The mainstream press too is not reporting on any Republicans alternatives in an effort to support the party of no lable.
This is to be expected but, aren't these folks just a day late and a dollar short? Where was all this complaining during the past eight years? It is hard to pay any mind to people who just rolled over for Bush and let him do what he did to this fine country. Good grief! Bush didn't even put the war expenses in the budget!
Republicans are born to oppose Obama.
Even if Obama say Sun rises from the East, Republican will oppose him.
I am glad someone is brave enough to call Obama on this cheap publicity stunt.
1/2 of one percent! For those math challenged – that is like me taking ONE HUNDRED dollars from you and saying oh sorry – here is 50 CENTS back.
He and Pelosi are counting on people to not know how big all these numbers are.
1/2 of 1 percent is no big deal. He's talking about taking away many more percent from me. Where is the difference going? I know, to the lazy unemployable.
It always amazes me at how the Republican Leadership can complain about defecits with a straight face given that there was a Republican in the White house for 90% of the time that our $10 Trillion National Debt was compiled.
Do they really think that the American public is that stupid that we don't know this?
What absolute disingenuous hypocrites!
And just what suggestions have the Republicans submitted?
His cuts are the equivalent of the give-a-penny, take-a-penny trays at local stores. It actually rounds to zero percent.
Change you can believe in. Obama is cutting change from the budget.
Mr President Those of us Democrats, myself included, who voted for change are not stupid. Please stop treating us like we are. 1/2 of 1 percent in budget cuts is a joke, and not a funny one. We are not stupid Mr Obama. I voted for change – and I did not mean pocket change (which is in my retirement account right now) and you promised cuts – this is not what I voted for.
The Republicans also reminded America that they do SO have a plan, a very GOOD plan too, and when everyone stops laughing at them, they'll tell us what it is. I bet it's gonna be "sit down and do nothing."
It wasn't a problem to spend unheard-of amounts of money when it was a Republican doing it, but now that a Democrat is doing it, it becomes a problem? Am I missing something???
This is not news. The Republicans rip, blast and slam everything President Obama says or does. The party of NO will never change. Even as they take their last gasp of air they are hateful.
I just read a great article on CNN that says Micheal Savage has been banned from entering the UK. The British Home Office has put him on a list with terrorists, murders, and the KKK. The Home Office says he his fostering hatred.
That is true for most of the Republican party. All they have left is hate and fear mongering. Very sad.
NEWS FLASH!!! Republicans rip into George Bush, after learning that the last five State of the Union speeches, where he stated that the United States was in great shape, were bald face lies!!!!
How much did Bush cut out of his budgets?
Typical what Republicans do they can't support common sense and want more cuts, and more tax breaks for big business and weathy in american. No wonder why they are losing ground. The stand the working public get a break.
Wow, i didn't know all Republicans became political pundits intead of coming up with ideas to trim the budget.
Interesting to note that they seem to forget that the last budget by the former President did not include the cost of the Iraq War where as this one does.
Hmmm, I wonder how much more money the budget is compared to 2004 if you include the Iraq War?
Obama should have immediately repealed the Bush tax cuts. Without those revenue will increase (and no, it won't harm the economy, going Galt is an ignorent concept) and the deficit will narrow.
Is anyone suprised about this? Has the President done ANYTHING they have liked? Of course not, and its going to stay that way until their convention consists of a tea party in Chatanooga.
Remember earlier this year when the Republican Party and the corporate media was up in arms about all the "pork" and "earmarks" in the $410 billion dollar spending bill that was left as unfinished business from the Bush Administration?
You remember how much of the bill was earmarks?
Why is it that 7.7 billion dollars to local districts is super expensive wasteful PORK . . . but $17 billion dollars in budget CUTS suddenly means nothing . . . hypocritical much?