December 13th, 2009
02:04 PM ET
8 years ago

Congress needs to rein in spending, Thune says

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Sen. Thune criticized the White House and congressional Democrats for their spending and also acknowledged that Republicans share some of the blame for excessive spending and borrowing in the past."]
Washington (CNN) – On the same day that the Senate is expected to vote on a massive spending bill, a Republican senator says the best approach to getting the federal government’s finances in order is to begin reducing spending.

“You’ve got to start there,” Sen. John Thune, R-South Dakota, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“Republicans share some of the blame,” Thune told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King. “When we were in charge [of Congress and the White House] we didn’t control spending well enough either.”

But Thune added that Republicans in the last eight years looked like cheapskates compared to the spending going on under Democrats now.

Democrats “have their foot on the pedal,” Thune said Sunday. “I mean this thing is – they’re driving this thing over a cliff and somebody’s got to put the brakes on.”

“We can’t continue to borrow and spend at this rate,” added Thune.

Filed under: Congress • John Thune • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (204 Responses)
  1. American Expat

    And a GOPer griping about spending? Give me a break; they didn't say a word when Bush doubled the national debt, nor started two wars that has bankrupt the country, nor tax breaks for the least deserving. But, I guess the GOP, like always, falls back on the short memory of the voters!

    December 13, 2009 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  2. ThinkAgain

    Why do the Republicans keep insisting their financial policies work, all evidence to the contrary?

    Simple: The Republicans care only about money and power. They do not care about our country; they want to completely gut the Middle Class, create a third-world economic system where the wealthiest few control everything and the rest of us are in poverty.

    Reagan and Bush both took budget surpluses and turned them into huge deficits by spending money on war while at the same time passing irresponsible tax cuts for the wealthy.

    – Did they create jobs here in the U.S.? No.

    – Did they invest in infrastructure? No.

    – Did real wages fall? Yes.

    Why anyone who can think would vote Republican is beyond me!

    December 13, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  3. catmomtx

    LLL: Wow, does anyone here realize that the Democrats have controlled congress since 2006?! To blame only the Republicans for our problems is ridiculous. The only way to change what is going on in Washington is for Americans to realize the Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin.

    We realize that. We also know that President Bush did not ever use the veto until the Democrats took control of Congress. We know that whatever Democrats tried to do Bush vetoed it. Besides, Bush was still President, wasn't he? He himself said he was the decider and as I recalled even during those two years he and Cheney were the deciders. I agree that it is time for Congress to do what they were elected for rather than constantly running for reelection. It seems everyone wants to blame President Obama when it is Congress that writes the bills. It is way past time some of the career Congress people get the opportunity to live by the rules all of us have to live by. Let them follow the laws and see how the rest of the country have to live.

    December 13, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  4. Robin

    The rich just keep racking up the bucks. Keep it up, the middle class is almost an endangered species! We are fighting for survival, and the majority of Washington just blow through cash like its going out of style! Walk in our shoes for a month, see how you like it. Idiots without a clue, the whole lot of them!

    December 13, 2009 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  5. Death Panel Sarah

    Better watch out Senator could be drummed out of the reptili'con' party for admitting to 'some' of the blame!!

    The 'party of NO' has never accepted ANY blame for any of our problems, so far.

    December 13, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  6. Chris from NC

    You're right, Sen. Thune, the GOP does share blame for the current economy - A LOT OF IT!!!! What makes you all think you can do a better job now? Yeah, you'll reduce spending, alright, but you'll keep spending loads of taxdollars lin ing the pockets of insurance companies, big oil and defense contractors, all in the name of small government and moral values. I'm sorry, but the GOP needs to eat a whole lot more humble pie before coming back to power.

    As for the Dems, they need to be careful of what they're spending on, too, or else the economy will stagnate or get worse. Plus, they need to get health reform out of the way and concentrate on the issues they got elected to fix: the economy and jobs, or risk a huge loss in the midterms.

    December 13, 2009 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  7. Rick

    To DEMS: don't give me the "it took 8 years to make this mess." Unemployment was at 4.5% until about 2007.

    And to say that it was the Republicans solely are responsible for the GLOBAL recession is a joke. It happened all over the world to countries that are not largely tied to our economy.

    The issues of spending isn't left or right, its just a GOVERNMENT thing. No matter who is in charge they spend away our futures. Stop your blind association to both parties and start voting for candidates that believe people should be left alone, not taxed to death or dictated about the "moral" thing to do.

    December 13, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  8. ThinkAgain

    Scott: If Bush and the Republicans hadn't been so naive and foolish with their wartime spending and tax cuts for the wealthy, we wouldn't be in our current mess!

    President Obama's financial policies pulled us back from the brink of financial disaster, the likes of which we haven't seen since the Great Depression. Anyone with a working brain between their ears knows this!

    When are you and others like you going to wake up and smell the coffee? The Republican strategy of tax cuts for the wealthy DON'T WORK! If they did, there wouldn't be so many people out of work in our country. (Lots of people working for $1/day with no workplace protection or environmental laws overseas, however ...).

    December 13, 2009 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  9. Bob

    OK, I am calming down, and paying attention to my spelling, let's look at where all this money went that causes you all to worry about our spending. Monies went to help bank, auto industry, large business such as AIG, etc. Monies also went to states to prevent layoffs, help people stay in homes, etc. So now let's pretend done of this was done and PLEASE be honest. There would be thousand upon thousands more people unemployed, thousands more without homes and the economy would really be in the tank. The result of not spending to help fix the economy would be something NO ONE would want to be a part of and this would have happened world wide not just here.

    December 13, 2009 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  10. Death Panel Sarah

    John in Brooklyn is absolutely correct!!!

    December 13, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  11. Kate in SW Fla

    There are a few intelligent leaders on the Republican side of the aisle. Thune is one of them. Democrats really ARE spending too much, but they shoud not slow down until the economy has turned around. Once it has EVERYONE needs to get serious about spending. If people with a moderate tone will work together, that can happen. The problem is the people who have migrated to the top positions in Wash DC are a bunch of partisan loud mouths. I am a lifelong democrat, but I think Nancy Pelosi is the worst House Speaker in my lifetime. Oh, she keeps getting votes through, but at a very steep price. I love President Obama, and believe he is every bit as brilliant and dedicated as I thought. The problem was, when he sent a perfectly balanced, smart and bi-partisan stimulus bill up the hill, and Pelosi bucked, he should have put his foot down then. Told her if you send me anything other than this, I will veto it. What good did it do him to put together such a fine team, come up with such a good plan, then let that partisan hack, hell bent on vengeance built up since 1994, destroy everything. John Thune supported the original package. I do not think we would hear this negative attitude from him, or other Republicans, had Obama stood up to the San Francisco liberal back then. Look, the country IS NOT LIBERAL.

    December 13, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  12. Kevin

    Why is it that Republicans only complain about spending when the Democrats do it? When they spend money, they consider it patriotism. Cut the hypocrisy, conservatives. What you say and what you do are always two different things.

    December 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  13. vincent

    The real Republicans are whining because they want America to suffer. America they believed back in 1998 needed another pearl harbor and they also believe that we need to suffer another major depression. Don't believe me just ask them.

    December 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. johnrj08

    While the Obama administration has spent a great deal of money in a relatively short period of time, it was put in the position of having to do so by the previous administration, which controlled the White House and Congress until 2007. That's when most of the damage was done to the economy and the banking system went 'rogue'. By the time Obama was elected, the world was on the precipice of another Great Depression due to a combination of very low interest rates and a lack of liquidity. Combine that with a cyclical recession you have a perfect storm hammering the economy. So, when Republicans whine like this guy, they simply continue to exhibit their own ignorance and penchant for lying and revising history in order to score political points. After the Democrats regained control of the Congress in 2007, George W. Bush behaved exactly as his party is behaving now. He stone-walled everything that the Congress wanted to do because it was run by Democrats. Nothing could get done at a time when real leadership was essential.

    December 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  15. Marry

    Funny, when it is about spending money for and with big business, Wall Street, war and low taxes for the rich, the GOP has no problems at all to spend and does not care a bit about deficits. They even keep them secrete and questions are “unpatriotic”! As soon as it is about the country (infrastructure, health care, education, investment in energy efficiency….) and (ordinary) people, they find it is time to “rein in spending”. Bravo!

    December 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  16. Lynne in CA

    How about starting with eliminating the salaries, perks and health care benefits enjoyed by Congress. Next up for slashing would be corporate welfare. Finally, reign in foreign aid and fund only humanitarian causes.

    December 13, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  17. Ted from Calif.

    I love the way these Republican hacks proclaim that they are partly to blame for out of control spending but blame Democrats for spending too much for their tastes. What these hypocrites fail to mention is that their policies are responsible for the economic meltdown and thus much of the spending to clean up the mess. They also fail to mention that the national debt more than doubled under the last administration when they were in control of both houses of Congress and the Presidency.

    Republicans created the borrow and spend tactics they now condemn. They borrowed and spent the United States into poverty and are now trying to blame somebody else for their sins. It is time the American public woke up and held the Republicans responsible for their malfeasance.

    Throw the Republican bums out at the next election.

    December 13, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  18. Death Panel Sarah

    To Jimmy from Concorde.....what is the 'shiny new Porsche'?
    Are you talking about healthcare? Is it extravigant to spend money to save the lives of our own citizens?
    Why is funding a war in Iraq responsible, but saving our own people's lives not?

    December 13, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  19. Jeff

    Every Democrat apologist that has posted here is saying the same thing essentially: "well, the Republicans did it too!". Uh yes, the Republicans DID spend like drunken sailors, but the Democrats are making them look sober by comparison. And does the fact that the Republicans were big spenders make it right for the Democrats to be even bigger spenders? Absolutely not. Yes, the Republicans helped turn us toward a fiscal cliff, but the Democrats, instead of turning us away from the cliff, have buried the gas pedal and are driving us over it.

    December 13, 2009 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  20. Jenn, Philadelphia

    Interesting that the liberal response to any time a Republican questions spending is "where were they for the last 8 years". Why don't you guys just say "they started it" and complete the transition to immature children.

    December 13, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  21. ThinkAgain

    All the GOP has to offer our country is fear, relying on the ignorance and short attention span of their base.

    The GOP proclaims to anti-abortion, anti-gay rights, anti-immigrants, "patriotic" and "Christian." Yes, they flap their lips constantly about these things, because they want people to vote for them.

    And what do we get in return? Policies that have practically ruined our country financially.

    Because ask yourselves, folks: If Republican financial policies really worked, our country wouldn't be in the financial mess we're in. After all the wartime tax cuts for the wealthy, the budget would be balanced and there'd be full employment.

    Wake up! The Republicans want to take all our money, give it to the wealthy, who will then invest it overseas where labor is cheap, and workplace protection and environmental laws are non-existent.

    Do you really want to turn into a third-world country?

    December 13, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  22. Hendrik

    Why does CNN have resort to classifying people's position as "slammed", "ripped" and other such terms. Are those the only "actions" word you have in your vocabulary.

    Oh, I am sorry, reporters do not have to follow variety.

    December 13, 2009 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  23. jennifer

    You, posters, sound so stupid! Do you really not understand how much Obama has increased the spending in his first year?? Bush did it, so it's O.K. for Obama to do more. Grow up!! Obama promised to do a better job than Bush and that included CUTTING government spending! Obama has broken many promises.

    December 13, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  24. Bob of Lompoc

    Absolutely not. Spend, spend, spend, until we make up for all looses of assistance to all the people that has been taken away since the beginning of the criminal Reagan Administration.

    December 13, 2009 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  25. BJ

    I found it so interesting that when Bush was giving out billions to the super rich and corporations, no one (that includes the Tea Party folks) said a word. Now with Obama in office Republicans are traveling to distant lands to undermine our Government, complaining about expenses and it goes on and on. I believe that there is more here than what the Republicans are talking about. It is really about race and that Obama is a Black man. If Obama could part the Red Sea, they would find something wrong with that.

    The bottom line is these folks do not like the fact that he is Black. Most of us know that, it is just that many are too polite to say it. So keep in ranting, we have your number and in the words of the gentleman in Florida....STFU!

    December 13, 2009 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
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