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. ender

    December 13th, 2009 12:39 pm ET

    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

    Don't you see? You miss the point. We're not pointing fingers at you and saying "neener neerer you started it". It's quite the opposite in fact.

    You come to us with the same ideas that HAVEN'T worked for near 8 years. The republican standard of lower taxes, looser regulation, and smaller government, are either a lie or unworkable.

    The republicans cry about deficit spending after near 8 years of rampant deficit spending on thier part.

    Looser regulations helped lead to the banking collapse.

    Tax cuts were given and not turned into "jobs" or "investment in the united states". They were turned into higher bonuses and offshore investments that did nothing for us.

    And "smaller governement"?!?!?!? You have GOT to be kidding me. The republican party just created and entirely and very expensive new government agency.

    The republican ideology towards econonomy either DOES NOT work. Or the republican leadership DOES NOT practice what they preach.

    A bad ideology, or hipocracy?

    Which is it?

    I personally believe its a bit of both.

    How can you expect us to take the republican party seriously when the republican fiancial plan that has been in place for almost 8 years has lead us to near economic disaster?

    The Democrats are FAR from perfect.

    But the Republican ideoloy is a PROVEN disaster.

    December 13, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  2. Jim Piani

    Repubicans never cease to amaze me!!! They nearly destroy our economic/financial system and then complain about the spending to save it. Where were the Repuiblicans when Bush Boy and his thugs were spending us to oblivion?

    December 13, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  3. David

    Another Republican with amnesia- Sen. Thune apparently has forgotten the last 8 years when GW Bush drove our economy off a cliff with 2 wars one of which was totally unnecessary and extremely expensive and basically did nothing the last year of his term as the economy shot off the cliff. How many times did GW deny we were in a recession?
    Yes there's a new man in charge, but it's a hell of a hole GW and cronies dug us into and it's going to take a lot of work to get us out of it. Sen. Thune would do better to shut up and roll up his shirt sleeves to help.
    Making statements like this only damages Republican credibility more.

    December 13, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  4. W Collins

    To all you tax and spend liberal's I will be by your house on payday to take my share of your pay. remember I get my share before you get your share. I wish I could run my house hold the way the libs want to run the gov. it is so amazing.

    December 13, 2009 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  5. Ken in NC

    I really hate to admit it but Republicans are right in that Democrats are spending hugh sums of money but one must consider the fact that when Republicans had control of the spending they did it all on tax cuts for their "Fat Cat" businesses and running their trumped up wars to keep the weapons industry flourishing in cash. Now Democrats are doing it but spending here at home in and effort to pull our economy out of the hole Republicans dug.

    It's kind of like "THE POT CALLING THE KETTLE BLACK". This is the only truth Republicans have displayed since the election. In this case, President Obama, THE KETTLE, is Black. Republicans screwed the pooch on our economy by taking their route and now that Democrats are trying to right the wrong, all Republicans want to do is get back on the track they had us on thinking it will fix what it screwed up. All I can say about them is "Stupid Is As Stupid Does".

    December 13, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. Stefan

    Scott, why don't YOU think again? "Trickle-Up" economics create a much higher percentage of jobs than "Trickle-Down" ever has done!
    Poor people ABSOLUTELY create jobs, and if you are not smart enough to understand why, I'll explain it in simple terms for you:

    100% of the money given to poor people immediately gets re-invested in the American marketplace (food, etc), thus creating demand which requires businesses to employ more people, and buy more inventory which creates further demand, and so on and so on. If, on the other hand you give rich people money, it is absolutely certain that less than 100% of it gets back into the American economy. Rich people, besides investing in their business to create jobs, also invest in foreing market, take vacations abroad, or buy fancy foregn-made goods for their fancy houses.
    Thus, $1 Trillion given directly to poor people without doubt creates more American jobs than the same amount given directly to rich people. But just so you don't feel totally disgusted about it, just remember what I said in the beginning: 100% of that money gets used in American Small Businesses (grocery stores, etc.) and quicly Trickles Up from there, so that eventually the rich people still gets their hands on it!
    Trickle-Up is a Win-Win situation with ALL of the money staying in America (at least until it reaches the hands of the rich!)

    December 13, 2009 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  7. Ed

    Name one Democrat controlled congress in the last 50 years that balanced the budget. Congress writes the budgets and controls the spending. Presidents only ask for things. Republican controlled congress in 1996 – 2002 balanced the budget. They tried to pass a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget but they didn't have enough of a majority to pass it – every single Democrat voted against it.

    December 13, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  8. Sean

    Thune and the Republicans have no credibility in this case- they have been budget busters since the days of Ronald Reagan ("when the deficit gets big enough, it can take care of itself"). This is the same tired, old Republican ploy- complain about spending, but demand funding for programs they want- like tax cuts for the wealthy and businesses as a way to fight unemployment. Sorry guys- been there, done that.... Arizona is a living testsment to unending tax cuts.

    December 13, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. ThinkAgain

    Republicans want President Obama and our country to fail – because the current Administration actually cares about the American people, as opposed to the wealthy and the corporations.

    The GOP strategy is to do absolutely everything they can to inhibit and undermine any success President Obama and the American people have.

    The GOP resorts to lying, name-calling, fear-mongering, racial prejudice and just plain idiocy (Tea Baggers and Birthers come to mind) to accomplish their goals.

    The GOP has already shown what their priorities are when they are in power: give to the wealthy and corporations like Haliburton and to heck with our country.

    Wake up, people! What more proof do you need than experience to convince you that the GOP doesn't give a rat's fanny about our country?

    December 13, 2009 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  10. Michael

    We need to realize as a county that we need to STOP spending more than we take in. We talk about a federal deficit and a federal debt.

    Americans need to realize the difference. The national debt is all that is owed.

    The NATIONAL DEFICIT is basically a year to year tally of the money we spend over what we take in. This is a bad thing. Every dollar we spend puts us in trouble. Our debt is largely owned by Chinese, etc....

    Think of your own family. You can not continue to spend more than you take in.....

    We need to STOP THIS NOW. I think we should have all the Senators and Congressmen/women take a pledge to balance the budget NOW.

    In addition.... When we go in to save a country (i.e. war/deployment) we should expect economic returns. E.G. We sould be getting a significant amount of free oil from Kuwait, IRAQ, etc.

    We need to negotiate these terms now or say we will pull out and let them work out their own mess.

    We need to start demanding returns on our investments in wars. We can not continue to be the global police without added benefit or we will be in serious trouble from an economic standpoint.

    December 13, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  11. Bev

    The spending--one of MANY reasons-- that the Democrats are going to get clobbered in the 2010 elections.

    Obama and the Democrats have 10 months to continue their destruction of our economy/country--then the power/control will be taken away with the 2010 elections.

    Numerous polls are now indicating-–MANY Democrats are going to be sent to the unemployment lines in 2010---I can't wait.

    December 13, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  12. Spencer

    I don't understand this incredible hostility towards Senator Thune. The national deficit goes beyond party politics. Our deficit is close to 90% of our GDP, yet all anyone can do is blame Republicans. This will affect everyone, regardless of political affiliation.

    December 13, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. A. Smith, Oregon

    Any Republican lawmaker that tells America 'we' need to rein in the spending in their futile attempts to obstruct the current Democratic Spending Bill are the biggest hypocrites on the planet.

    The Republican lawmakers spent over 1 Trillion dollars into both foreign wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and the deep pockets of the defense contractors, AFTER gutting social services, public schools, police departments and veterans services thru-out America for maximum funding on the 'war' effort.

    The Democratic Bill isn't spending MORE money, it is highly directional in where that money is going. Instead of Bush-Cheney cronies getting the absolute majority of the spending dollars, the Democratic Bill works to boost domestic spending across a wide range of critical needs and support services.

    December 13, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. ThinkAgain

    I spent three years of my childhood in the Panama Canal Zone (my father was career Army), and I saw first-hand what a third-world economy looks like:

    – 1% of the population owns 98% of the wealth, virtually no Middle Class, the rest in poverty.

    – Very little support for public services, including education.

    – Very little opportunity for people to have bootstraps, let alone the opportunity to pull themselves up by them.

    I don't want our country to become like this – and yet, the Republicans and their tried-and-failed economic, social and military policies are pushing us towards that scenario.

    Third-world country: Been there, done that. Not by my hand in the United States!

    December 13, 2009 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  15. Dan in FL

    George Bush and the Republicans used the surplus they inherited to they cut taxes rather than pay down the debt. They then increased spending to cover the costs of two wars and the public debt ballooned, all during relatively good times. Now that we've hit tough times, we don't have the debt capacity we could have had to help lift the economy out of recession. So the Republicans are now complaining about the debt? This current situation is largely the result of their fiscal mismanagement, and while the Democrats' current spending may be out-of-control, the Republican party shares much of the blame for where we are today.

    December 13, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Robert

    Why is it that the democrats can't say anything other that "Bush did it, the republicans did it!" You fruits are in control until the next election so try to act responsibly for a change.

    December 13, 2009 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  17. jdawg

    On every single one of these discussion boards all people do is complain about the other party. They make ignorant generalizations about the other party that have no validity behind them whatsoever. The truth is that the country is in a really rough economic situation and advances have to be made. Nothing gets done when everyone is just a bunch of stubborn pricks. Democrats have to make compromises and republicans have to make comprises, or the situation won't get any better. That means that as voters, people can't get pissed off at their senator every time he/she crosses party lines. Anyone who does get angry about that kind of action has no understanding for politics and definitely doesn't care about the well-being of the country. Serioulsy, people. Quit being so immature and bullheaded, and make some concessions for a change.

    December 13, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  18. John an Independent from NY

    The Republicans failed us for 8 years by spending ridiculous amounts of money for no apparent reason. Now the democrats are trying to break the Republican record for stupid spending in record time. PLEASE STOP IT! We need to toss every one of these chumps in Congress. NONE are responsible. The next generation will pay for this mess in a big way.

    December 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  19. Nelly

    I wish these guys would have been trying to tighten spending during the Bush years. Bush, Congress and the media all let us down. I see the media on TV. I read the latest articles. I hear the republicans talking about spending. Where was this when we really needed it? They let Bush send our troppos to Iraq and spend untold billions on nothing.

    If they would have spoke up then, we would not be in this mess. Now that money is actually being spent to help Americans as oppose to the defense industry and oil industry in the name of war, they all have a problem with spending. it is too late. I just wish people would get educated and learn to think deeper about things to help keep us out messes like this.

    We gave Bush and his cronies eight years to screw things up. Now we expect it to turn around so quickly. Can most Americans really be that shallow in their thinking? Can we be that stupid? Let's just put Republicans back in control. How about Johnn McCain. Let's elect the man who gave us Sarah Palin. He should hide in shame off that alone, but still has the nerve to criticize. We deserve what we get!

    December 13, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  20. JS

    John Thume is exactly right. We can't confuse an influx of money as a sign of wealth for the nation. The problem with our economy is the massive jurisdiction Federal government has sought to fund. If we do not grasp spending and work towards a balanced budget we will continue to suffer from heavy inflation and loss of buying power.

    December 13, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  21. Gary

    Thankfully, the Dems realized that a depression can only be reversed by intense spending. While jobs still lag, check out your 401k's. They're coming back ... and fast. The stimulus did that. It's only problem is that it should have been much bigger.

    December 13, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  22. ib

    All the liberals are still trying to cover the out of controll spending by still blaming Bush. People Bush is over and has been for a year now it's time Obama started taking credit for his out of controll spending failures. Obama's agenda is destroying this country. Quit the cover up; look at what's really going on before it's to late.

    December 13, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  23. george from alaska

    reign in spending? how about all the money the black lobby is try and promote the lie that black men can copulate better and have bigger equipment than white dudes. what a load of tiger baloney.

    December 13, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  24. Thune Tune

    Republicans ruin! That should be the theme behind what really is teh economic essence of the last Republican administration. Disgusting Republicans want to blame Obama for their foisted problems on society. Hey, nitwits, it's the Republicans who caused all of this mess and thanks a lot, repugnicants, for this mess. you left! First, tehy rob you and then they say that they can't return the cash because its rightfully theirs, no matter how they got the goods. Terrible social etiquette, especially around Christmas!

    December 13, 2009 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  25. Chris far left libs need to get your facts straight.. You all continue to spout this propoganda that Bush and the Republicans created both wars? Actually.....Pelosi, Reid, Dodd, Kennedy, Kerry, Gore, Clinton, etc. all pushed for it, following 9-11. But yall fail to mention that, like they were innocent little babies. Come-on give those victims of 9-11 some respect. You people disrespect there memories and are pathetic partisans.

    Oh and jumping back on fiscal responsibility....who has been in control of congress since 2006? Guess what, it wasn't the republicans. And finally what was the 2008 budget deficit when Bush's term ended, under a democratic congress? Yeah 455 billion during a recession that was world wide. And what is it now? Um...almost 2 trillion under the "spend our way out of debt" lunacy that Biden championed.

    All i can say about you Democrats......HYPOCRITS.....

    December 13, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
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