Obama, Republicans foreshadow spending duels in Washington
January 5th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
1 year ago

Obama, Republicans foreshadow spending duels in Washington

(CNN) - While Republicans this week have already begun to lace up their fighting gloves for the upcoming battles over debt and spending, President Barack Obama used his weekly address Saturday to draw his own lines.

"One thing I will not compromise over is whether or not Congress should pay the tab for a bill they've already racked up. If Congress refuses to give the United States the ability to pay its bills on time, the consequences for the entire global economy could be catastrophic," Obama said.

He made similar remarks in his statement after Congress passed late Tuesday night a scaled-back fiscal cliff deal, one that critics say failed to address the country's spending issues. The government must deal with at least three debt and budget issues in the coming months, including a vote on raising the debt ceiling.

The mini-cliffs, as some have called them, are almost sure to be met with partisanship and gridlock as seen in recent fiscal showdowns between Congress and the White House.

Obama did say he believes the government can find spending cuts "without shortchanging things like education, job training, research and technology" but insisted such negotiations should cast aside "the messy brinksmanship in Congress."

"If we focus on the interests of our country above the interests of party, I'm convinced we can cut spending and raise revenue in a manner that reduces our deficit and protects the middle class," he said.

In the weekly Republican address, Rep. Dave Camp, who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee, faulted Obama and congressional Democrats for not working hard enough to incorporate meaningful spending cuts in the fiscal cliff deal.

While Democrats argue the debt ceiling must be raised so the government can borrow money to pay its bills, Republicans argue that continually increasing the debt limit is no way to solve the country's spending problem.

"That position is irresponsible and fails to acknowledge what every family in America already knows – when you have no more money in your account and your credit cards are maxed out, then the spending must stop," Camp said, echoing similar comments made this week by House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Sen. John Cornyn of Texas even suggested a partial government shutdown could be in order.

"It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain," Cornyn wrote in a Washington Post op-ed.

Meanwhile, Camp said in the GOP address that it was time to "to stand up and say 'enough is enough' to those who would tax and spend even more" and called on Obama to join Republicans in their efforts to "fight wasteful Washington."


Filed under: Debt • Fiscal Cliff • President Obama
soundoff (39 Responses)
  1. Donkey Party

    Where were all these GOP fiscal hawks when the Bush administration was spending money like there was no tomorrow??? America is sick and tired of the GOP hypocrisy, and 2014 will reflect that when the GOP loses the remainder of their Congressional seats. No amount of gerrymandering is going to protect them.

    January 5, 2013 07:20 am at 7:20 am |
  2. klamerus

    Mr. President, when most people don't have money ... they don't spend it. That's not the way this government works where it's spend and then politic when taxes aren't raised to support the spending.

    January 5, 2013 07:44 am at 7:44 am |
  3. sifto

    Who ,is obama kidding? He is the one who racked up the bills!

    January 5, 2013 08:27 am at 8:27 am |
  4. Gurgyl

    Cut DEFENSE!!!

    January 5, 2013 08:31 am at 8:31 am |
  5. dreucalypt

    Haven't the Republicans learned anything?

    January 5, 2013 08:35 am at 8:35 am |
  6. Tony

    Obama cannot spend money unless it has been authorized by Congress. Republicans need to accept this basic fact before we can make meaningful progress on controlling spending. Authorizing the money but refusing to let Obama spend it is the height of hypocrisy, not to mention stupidity. It is like selling a house to someone but refusing to let him borrow the money (by taking out a mortgage) to pay for it. It makes absolutely no sense, but again this is the party that wants to keep cutting taxes, when the government is already running a big deficit, then complains that the deficit (which equals revenue minus spending) is too high.

    If Republicans in Congress insist on forcing a default so that the government cannot pay its bills, including Social Security and Medicare, and the economy tanks, they should be impeached for treason, assuming that they manage to survive the 2014 election.

    January 5, 2013 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  7. Tampa Tim

    If the debt ceiling bill attacks women's reproductive rights, goes after seniors and veterans' benefits, and hurts the middle class, only then will it get GOP support.

    January 5, 2013 09:05 am at 9:05 am |
  8. CAWinMD

    If Republicans wanted meaningful spending cuts in the fiscal cliff deal, then they should have kicked Boehner to the side and voted on Obama's last offer to Boehner. If you can't stand up to your own party to get a decent deal, then you deserve what you get.

    As for the debt ceiling, I hope Obama means what he says (not sure he does). If CONGRESS wants spending cuts along with the debt ceiling increase, then CONGRESS should figure out how to do that. If Obama happens to sign that bill, terrific. But since he's already said that he wants a separate bill for the debt ceiling away from spending cuts, my recommendation to Congress is that they not wait until the last minute on this - they might not like the results.

    January 5, 2013 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  9. citizen#1529865

    I think a partial shutdown should be done. No paychecks to congressman ever again. Serve, don't be served!

    January 5, 2013 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  10. jpmichigan

    This is a joke! President is NOW worried about the global economy, but continued to spend like a drunkin sailor. Sorry, Mr. President it is time to cut MORE spending and with the increase in revenue, that all who WORK have to pay, you should start have more revenue to pay governments bills. Time to stop handing out gifts to those who can but won't work. Our society moral and ethics are going down the commode!

    January 5, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  11. Jack

    I agree that spending cuts need to happen, but they need tied to the improving economy, and have stop thinking of debt, but investing in the future! It will cost, it has in the past, but it bought great benefits down the road.

    January 5, 2013 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  12. STL-MO

    The first thing they SHOULD do to prevent "wasteful spending" is NOT give the house & folks in Washington pay increases.

    Quite frankly they have done NOTHING to deserve them

    January 5, 2013 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  13. Thomas

    An old man captures a genie who agrees to grant him a wish. "I wish to live forever." "Sorry" says the genie, I am not allowed to grant that wish.". "Then I wish to live long enough to see Congress get its head out of its butt." the genie smiled and said, "You  clever old boy you."

    January 5, 2013 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  14. Ray E. (Georgia)

    We need Fiscal Responsibility in Washington. With the Liberal's running the Asylum the last 75 years we have had no Fiscal Responsibility. Old Arragant-in-Chief has no idea of what fiscal responsibility is.

    January 5, 2013 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  15. Disgusted

    Does the same go for the bills Obama has made? Does Obama get to pay for all his travels, parties, daughter's spring break vacation in Mexico etc? He should definitely have to.

    January 5, 2013 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  16. GonzoinHouston

    There's a time and place for everything, and the time to debate spending, taxing, and the resultant deficit or surplus is called the budget process. The President is required to submit one to Congress, starting at the House, but the House is under no requirement to pass anything.

    You want something that might work? Pass a realistic budget with a limit on the deficit, and any spending beyond that has to be supported by a corresponding tax hike or spending cut somewhere else. It's called "Pay-Go". It works, but it requires both sides to be more concerned with something other than defeating each other.

    January 5, 2013 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  17. Leftcoastrocky

    Republicans, specifically what do you propose to cut and how much? Be specific and let us know in the next couple of weeks so they country can debate this before waiting until the last minute. That is the responsible way to handle it.

    January 5, 2013 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  18. Leftcoastrocky

    "the president has very little control over the budget one way or another; the vast bulk of spending is baked in the cake the day he takes office and changes can only be made incrementally and over time."

    January 5, 2013 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  19. AK_steve

    The GOP had no problem tripling our debt and approving all debt ceilings when "W" was in office. Now the very ones who create the problem – the Republicans – refuse to fix it and instead blame it on the President.

    It is a wonder why the majority of Americans think the GOP is corrupt and the cause for all the partisanship.

    January 5, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  20. luke,az

    The Republicans racked up 5 trillion dollars for 2 unnecessary wars started by Bush/Cheney, it's time to pay up. Thank God Romney is not in the White House !

    January 5, 2013 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  21. plain&simple

    Government has an obligation to meet It's promises! Social Security,Medicare,Unemployment Insurance....these are paid for by the same people using them by payroll deductions. When you have a bill you pay it. That's what responsible people do....when you make a promise you keep it. Why has this become such a divisive issue? People aren't out there looking for something for nothing....most people aren't...really !! Do what you're supposed to do and be responsible congress,you said its ok to spend the money...now you pay your bill.

    January 5, 2013 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Larry in Houston

    Congress HAS ALWAYS Had control of the PURSE STRINGS, not the President !! The President, no matter how much the right wingers hate him, cannot Just go & "spend" – Congress is the ONES – who spends us into oblivion.

    January 5, 2013 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  23. ThinkAgain: All the GOP's policies are proven failures.

    The only good I can see coming out of these future showdowns is absolute proof of just how ridiculously stupid these teabaggers are.

    January 5, 2013 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  24. ThinkAgain: All the GOP's policies are proven failures.

    Funny how silent all these "conservatives" were when GW Bush was waging 2 unfunded wars and passing unfunded Medicare Part D, all the while passing huge tax cuts (which the recipient of DID NOT use to create jobs here in the U.S.).

    And who can forget this gem Dick Cheney said to Paul O'Neill, then Treasury Secretary: "You know, Paul, Reagan proved that deficits don't matter. We won the mid-term elections, this is our due." This was in response to O'Neill counseling against further tax cuts because of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and the war in Afghanistan.

    Republicans spent like drunken sailors during GW Bush's 8 years in office. And their base continues to prove not only they have the memories of a gnat, that they are easily manipulated into acting against their own self-interest.

    When are you rank-and-file GOPers going to grow a pair and admit you've been played for fools?

    January 5, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  25. Dshaun Williams

    i wish Mitt Romney was President.:(

    January 5, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
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