Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama is wasting no time touting his own efforts to impose fiscal discipline and intimating, in the process, that Capitol Hill and the prior administration did not do enough to keep runaway deficit spending under control.
Friday Obama signed into law a record $1.9 trillion increase in the federal government's borrowing cap. The legislation, which passed Congress largely along party lines, raised the debt ceiling to $14.294 trillion.
The measure also enacted a statutory, pay-as-you-go, or "pay-go," procedure requiring lawmakers to find ways to pay for proposed spending increases or tax cuts by offsetting them with higher taxes or reduced spending elsewhere in the budget.
In his weekly radio and Internet address out Saturday, Obama is lauding the return of the ‘pay-go’ requirement.
“It was this rule that helped lead to balanced budgets in the 1990s, by making clear that we could not increase entitlement spending or cut taxes simply by borrowing more money. And it was the abandonment of this rule that allowed the previous administration and previous congresses to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy and create an expensive new drug program without paying for any of it. Now in a perfect world, Congress would not have needed a law to act responsibly, to remember that every dollar spent would come from taxpayers today – or our children tomorrow.”
“But this isn’t a perfect world,” continues Obama. “This is Washington. And while in theory there is bipartisan agreement on moving on balanced budgets, in practice, this responsibility for the future is often overwhelmed by the politics of the moment. It falls prey to the pressure of special interests, to the pull of local concerns, and to a reality familiar to every single American – the fact that it is a lot easier to spend a dollar than save one.”
“Now, Congress will have to pay for what it spends, just like everybody else,” the president also says in Saturday’s address.
In addition to the return of the “pay-go” rule, Obama also mentions spending cuts he has proposed in his latest budget blueprint; his recently announced proposal to freeze nondiscretionary, nonsecurity spending for three years; and his plan to create a bipartisan fiscal commission by executive order.
Related: Senate nixes debt commission
“After a decade of profligacy, the American people are tired of politicians who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk when it comes to fiscal responsibility,” the president also says in Saturday’s address. “It’s easy to get up in front of the cameras and rant against exploding deficits. What’s hard is actually getting deficits under control. But that’s what we must do.”
In a statement released Friday evening after Obama signed the law increasing the debt ceiling and re-imposing “pay-go,” Republican National Committee Chairman Steele slammed the president.
“With a simple stroke of his pen, President Obama now has the ability to continue his binge spending agenda to the tune of an additional $1.9 trillion, the largest one-time increase in our history,” Steele says. “If the president thinks he can hide his embarrassing binge spending habit behind a thin fig leaf like PAYGO, then he truly has hit rock bottom.”