May 7th, 2009
04:26 PM ET
9 years ago

Republicans rip Obama for insufficient budget cuts

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

Filed under: Budget • Republicans
soundoff (160 Responses)
  1. Dusty

    I see we are trying to balance the National Budget on the backs of the Military again. When is John Q Public going to task Congress with cutting out bazillions in Foreign Aid? I'd sure like to see the annual expenditure that the US Taxpayers fork over; it probably pales in light of the paltry sums that AIG has already wasted....

    May 7, 2009 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  2. W

    As usual, the Republicans don't get it. Obama is doing what he campaigned on – to go through the budget line by line and cut the stuff that doesn't work, is outdated, or is wasteful. Yes, $17B is small compared to the total budget. No, it won't bring the budget into balance all by itself. But that's not what Obama is trying to do. He wants to begin what should be a regular review of what money gets spent on and cut what isn't worth it. This is the beginning of what should be an ongoing process, not an end in and of itself.

    The GOP also still doesn't get that during a severe economic downturn the government is the last man standing to generate demand and keep the recession from becoming that much deeper. The GOP is still stuck on Hoover economics and would prefer the recession go deeper, last longer, and cause even more pain all around.

    May 7, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  3. insanity

    seriously? Republicans spend without a care in the world, which forced Obama to spend to recover from the recession, and now they (republicans) wants to be seen as the caretakers of the budget.

    Hypocritical much?

    May 7, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  4. Diane

    I can't even finish reading this BS! Where in the H... were the fiscal republicans while GWB was president and spending like there was no tomorrow! American people are paying for it now and I am sick and tired of these moronic people blaming President Obama. Yes, he is liberal but at least he is making a stab at getting this country back on track. GIVE US A BREAK AND SHUT THE H... up. Where oh where is Phil Graham - talk about a bunch of whinners!

    May 7, 2009 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  5. Film Professor

    McConnell might as well put on the red nose and clown suit; he and the rest of the Repugs have ZERO credibility on this issue.

    And they offered no credible ideas for how to solve the economic Tsunami created by the 8 disastrous years Bush was in office. No one likes the incredible deficits, but Obama is leading and doing what is necessary to get our country out of the ditch and moving again.

    As Paul Begala said, hearing the Repugs complain about this is like listening to a bunch of arsonists complain about how much water the fire department is using.

    May 7, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  6. Shasta

    If nothing else, we have learned in the past few months that the republicans' main talking point is that they suddenly care about "our" children and grandchildren. They didn't care too much the past 8 years when they ignored the environment and racked up the current defecit. Obama is doing what he can to save our economy, and that includes injecting money into it. At the same time, he is giving money back to the people, as well as looking at education and the enviornment. I would say that he cares a little more about our children and grandchildren than the say-anything / do nothing repubs.

    May 7, 2009 04:18 pm at 4:18 pm |
  7. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Now they are complaining... Why didn't they do any of this stuff when they were in charge? My one question will keep haunting me when the Republicans say there is more that should be cut. There is little way that they can say that would make me believe them. I thought that the Republicans were the fiscal conservatives... Apparently not in this case.

    May 7, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  8. Mickie

    Like they did any better while approving all the debt Bush was piling up, releasing TARP funds to AIG without any restrictions while AIG partied, no bid contracts to Haliburton, Blackwater, etc. Now all of a sudden they are money concious. That's like Palin being for abstinence after she had her way. That's like the anti-gay rantings of Craig while he played footsies in the bathroom with another man. Are there any republicans who are not hypocrits?

    May 7, 2009 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  9. Dan, TX

    Maybe we should get out of the recession first? How about getting the banks that passed the stress test to pay back the TARP money first. Shouldn't we be getting back the $787 Billion?

    May 7, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  10. gorefan

    First the Republicans complained that the president was going to fast, trying to get to much done. Now thy're complaining that he's going to slow. I wish they'd make up their minds.

    May 7, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. catwood

    Where were Senators McConnell and Gregg from January, 2001 through until January, 2009? If they are so interested in 'protecting our children and grandchildren', perhaps it would have been prudent to start eight years earlier.

    May 7, 2009 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Brian G, Sugar Land, TX

    Okay, insufficient budget cuts. Which Republican sponcered projects would the GOP like to cancel in order to help balance the budget?

    May 7, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  13. marcus

    it is SO funny to read the republican party ripping obama on the budget. you idiots ran up 13 TRILLION dollars of debt. in addition, you deregulated til you brought our entire nation to the brink of financial collapse. you have absolutely NO credibility when it comes to financial matters. actually, you pretty much have NO credibility when it comes to ANY issue: family values ? lol... no.. international diplomacy ?? lol.. no keeping the US safe from terrorists ?? NO !!! keep talking, and reaffirming for the rest of us, what a bunch of fools you are.

    May 7, 2009 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |

    Doesn't matter what Pres. Obama says or does the gop will find fault and try to destroy him in every way. I have never heard any gop member mention the millions Bush hid and Pres. Obama included in the deficit. In all my 78 years on this earth I have never seen such hateful, evil, mean, destructive, human beings. They have no conscience, heart or soul. I truly believe they will do and say anything to regain the WHITEHOUSE. They have the nerve to talk about other leaders of the world. The REPUBLICANS ARE NO BETTER THAN THE WORST OF THEM.

    May 7, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  15. Sniffit

    I'm starting to hear cartoon music in my head every time these guys take a stage or start speaking...

    May 7, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  16. Ted Tartaglia

    Just a typical Party of No Ideas response. The supported George Bush without a wimper as he increased the national debt more than the 42 presidents collectively who preceeded him and now they cry about President Obama's budget. Sounds like a bunch of cry baby hypocrites to me.

    May 7, 2009 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  17. Bill in California

    ANOTHER CRUMB FOR THE PEONS. I don't know what is more insurlting the amount of the cuts compared to HIS 3.something TRILLION DOLLAR budget for the next year OR that he believes us ALL FOOLS.

    May 7, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  18. Kate in SW Fla

    Clinton balanced the budget, but not the first year! Geez, give it some time. Also, I think it will be good for the Republicans to offer some cuts too, and hopefully the entire congress will work together to reduce spending and work towards greater fiscal responsibility. But in the meantime, do they really have to come out with such nasty comments? Seriously, why does it always have to be so hateful?

    May 7, 2009 04:25 pm at 4:25 pm |
  19. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Whine, Whine, Whine. That's all you republicans have become good for. How about some alternative solutions.

    May 7, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  20. tigerakabj


    They ranted over a $1 million Pelosi mice project in the stimulus bill. They yelled and screamed over "wasteful spending" and "debt on our grandchildren." And now that he's....

    Forget it.

    President Obama, bring on the torture trials of Cheney, Bush, Rumsfeld soon. Shut this ignorant party down permanently. I don't even want know how ugly they'll be in a year or two's time. What a disgusting group of ingrates.

    May 7, 2009 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  21. Bev - NYC

    Senator Gregg is just full of metaphors today isn't he. Too bad he can't form an original idea to save more money. How about it Senator how many grains of sand ( Federal dollars) could New Hampshire do without. You have to start somewhere, and 17. Quit the bellyaching and fix the mess you created, so sick of Republicans acting like a parade should be thorown in their honor for getting us into this mess.

    May 7, 2009 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  22. J.P.

    ... or .001416% of the 12 trillion dollar hole that Obambi dug in his first 60 days in office (12 trillion over ten years).

    May 7, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  23. Royster

    To the Republicans: Where WERE you when Bush had budgets just as big, with deficits just as big.....for EIGHT years?? You kill's OK for your guy to spend spend spend....but now that there is a Democratic in the White House it is not ok........

    Instead of being the party of 'No'......why don't you help?? Can't you all work on ONE guys are like babies who won't play together and you have to have your 'own' list of cuts.

    Bottom line: Sitting around b****ing about everything only lowers your party's stature even more in everyone's eyes.

    May 7, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  24. Brad

    What items have the republicans suggested cutting from the budget? Oh that's right, we're the party of no!

    May 7, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  25. J.P.

    Here's what the Republicans should cut when they swamp the hippies in the 2010 congressional races... eliminate every department or program not spelled out in the Constitution.

    Doh! That would be nearly 90% of the federal government. Too bad.

    May 7, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
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