February 8th, 2010
09:57 AM ET
13 years ago

Budget hearings mix policy with presentation

(CNN) - When President Obama presented his budget for the upcoming fiscal year, he demanded that lawmakers forgo "the same old grandstanding when the cameras are on and the same irresponsible budget policies when the cameras are off."

But as budget hearings get under way, it appears that the definition of "grandstanding" is subject to interpretation.

Last week, for example, Sen. Judd Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, lambasted the administration for its proposal to use money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to fund a new program for small businesses.

When Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, was defending the proposal, Gregg cut him off, saying, "No, no, no! You can't make that type of statement with any legitimacy."

Gregg then read a portion of the TARP law to Orszag, "because you don't appear to understand the law."

Lawmakers defend such outbursts as genuine concern over policy, but critics say some hearings are all about show.

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Filed under: Budget • Congress
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. Ryan

    There you go. A Republican, Judd Gregg, refuses to allow bailout money to help small businesses.

    After every failed attempt to navigate the "trickle-down" method, you'd think the GOP would FINALLY be at least moderately willing to help small businesses. But no. They're lusting after power instead.

    Instead, they spread rumors and lies to people who own small businesses that make them think their taxes will be raised under Obama.

    Despite a number of non-partisan budget officials confirming Obama's plans would actually cut them a break and it's the big corporations that benefitted from Bush tax cuts and outsourcing jobs overseas that would finally have to pay their dues....


    This is what the Tea Party doesn't realize it's fighting for, Idiot takeovers.

    February 8, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  2. D.U.T.C.H.

    Mr. Gregg is all about show along with the rest of republican colleagues.

    February 8, 2010 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  3. Biased

    I watched that presentation on CNN and saying Gregg's outrage at Orszag was staged is silly. Gregg knows his budget, and did indeed have to read him the law. It was evident he was right because shortly afterward the WH had to come out and say Obama really didn't mean to say he was taking the returned money but he meant new funds and they just couldn't figure out how that got in his SOTU speech... It got there because it was put there intentionally to raise more anger against the bankers and it was repeated again days after that Obama would use money repaid by the banks. So the WH and Orszag got caught red handed trying to do something against the law and they and you want to make it theatrics? Well thank goodness for Gregg and his knowledge or we could be watching the WH commit a crime while the media watched.

    February 8, 2010 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  4. Scott, Tucson

    How about comparing obama's record busting budget as compared to all the previous Presidents. He makes George Bush looks like a solid fiscal conservative which he wasn't.

    February 8, 2010 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  5. sensible Cape Coral FL

    We all know what the Republicans are AGAINST but cant someone please tell me what they are FOR?

    February 8, 2010 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. jules sand-perkins

    If there weren't so much show business in government, we might not be able to get out a representative vote.
    Come to think of it, that might produce a more serious electorate.

    February 8, 2010 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  7. annie against biased news

    This is not a budget – this is an all out attempt to financially destroy our country.

    February 8, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  8. JGB

    Now that's funny, Mr. Opportunity accusing others of Grandstanding. Obama is the king of grandstanding..........guess he can't stand the competition.

    February 8, 2010 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  9. GI Joe

    A recent memo from Frank Luntz – a GOP hack whose specialty is creating stacked-deck polls that purport to show a "massive public rejection" of Obama policies – advises Washington Republicans to "lie as much as possible" between now and the November elections, when there will be a "divinely-mandated" restoration of a GOP majority in Congress. Republican wannabes seem to forget that (despite the growing sophistication of media mythmaking) there is still a modicum of truth in the old saying about how difficult it is to "fool all the people all of the time." How many blatant fibs can be put out before even our least-informed citizens begin to suspect that something is amiss?


    Why can't the media debunk all these lies and give us the unbiased truth instead of just repeating the lies? Because there are no journalists, only professional gossips.

    February 8, 2010 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  10. Dan, TX

    America was a place where everyone could gain by hard work. Have we become a zero-sum society where if someone gains, someone else necessarily loses? If so, we have lost our right to be called a great nation.

    February 8, 2010 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  11. Four and The Door

    he demanded that lawmakers forgo "the same old grandstanding when the cameras are on and the same irresponsible budget policies when the cameras are off."
    That's Obama's job! Who do they think they are?

    February 8, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. awaitingliberalizationbyCNN

    Does it surprise anyone that the members of the current inept, corrupt adminsistration do not understand the law they passed. No one apparently read it in the libertard party, other than to come up with some misleading name. That is what libertards do. By the way where is that idiot "lying" Al Gore and his global warming.

    February 8, 2010 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  13. Mike in MN

    The Democrats are spending us to oblivion. Any attempts by Republicans calling them out on wastfull, out of control, or inappropriate spending is not grandstanding. It is standing up for the taxpayers and protecting their best interests and doing what is best for our nation.

    February 8, 2010 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  14. notfooledbydistractions

    Do republicans really deserve any sense of legitimacy on matters of the economy and budget?

    After all, the enormous budget deficit we're saddled with is largely the work of republican leadership – starting with Reagan.

    I have long since dismissed the notion of republicans being the stawalt fiscal conservatives because facts and history prove that claim to be nothing but an oft repeated myth, with no basis in reality.

    February 8, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  15. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    America is trapped in an eternal political campaign. In this eternal Hell, nothing of substance gets done FOR THE PEOPLE, because (now more than ever) we have no voice and we are not coherent against the status quo of the criminal Corporatocracy.

    Big Business has money, they hire lobbyists to "protect and improve" their interests through campaign contributions" and back room dealings that, as with Jack Abramoff are more than a little criminal. This incestuous, self serving circle jerk serves iteself at the expense of "We The People," ON PURPOSE!

    Of Course it's political, OF COURSE it's for show. They only need us as workers, customers and campaign contributors. They have little to no interest in us as humans, and they have demonstrated, on both sides of the aisle that they have ABSOLUTELY no interest in our wants and needs as humans, as a society.

    February 8, 2010 11:21 am at 11:21 am |
  16. A. Goodwin

    As a NH citizen, I have been very upset by the way Senator Judd Gregg has done business on MY behalf. Unfortunately, Gregg – like many of his Republican counterparts – votes along party lines instead of voting with the people of NH for which her serves. Over the past year, since he declined a non-partisan position with the White House...he has done nothing but political grandstanding. He COULD have shown the rest of the country that the Republican's have something to add to the value of our democracy – but he turned it down because...frankly, he hates democrats. How sad.

    Regardless if Peter Orszag was illinformed, he should have been shown a little more respect. While those money's are a part of TARP Law...we can change the law...we can shift those funds...Gregg's words are not the end all, be all.

    February 8, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  17. Mike in MN

    Obama keeps accusing Republicans of obstruction. That is so lame. Until Brown won in Mass., Republicans did not have the votes in either the House or Senate to obstruct. Democrats have had enough power to do whatever they wanted.
    The truth is where the Democrats have failed to get things done, it is because of disagreement within their own party. And the truth is when they have passed bills a majority of voters have not liked them. The truth is voters simply don't like what Obama and his liberal/progressive friends in the House and Senate are doing. And independents are getting sick of Obama blaming Republicans when in fact indpendents don't like what Obama is doing and know Republicans have not had to power to stop him.
    But Obama can't handle that so he attacks the Repubicans and is blames them for not getting things done when in fact they have been powerless to do so.
    The truth is the will of the people is opposed to Obama's agenda and the Blue Dogs have listened and are responsible for slowing down Obama's agenda.

    February 8, 2010 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  18. File under "Sarcasm"

    CNN, your liberal bias is showing through again.

    Gregg rightly pointed out to Orzag that the TARP law Congress passed specifically states that the repaid funds go back to the Treasury. They are not a slush fund for the President to use as he sees fit no matter how beneficial he thinks the program covered is.

    If the Adminstration wants to use the money for funding small businesses or financing high speed rail or buying new pencils for the White House staff, Congress needs to pass another spending bill authorizing it.

    Imagine the Democrat "out bursts", if this had been Bush's Budget Director proposing it be spent for funding parochial education or oil exploration in Alaska.

    February 8, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  19. Enough

    The pot calling the kettle black?? Obama is a great one to talk, the biggest grandstander of all time.

    February 8, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  20. found work without help of stimulus or obama

    more smoke being blown up the American peoples skirt by the Obama administration

    February 8, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  21. Sal DeMarco

    This goes to show that republicans are refusing to be bipartisan and are still the party of no. Funds that have not been spent yet from the stimulus is what President Obama wants to use. If he asked for more spending in congress, which I disagree with, he will be criticized by the republicans. They obviously are partisan and don't care at all about small businesses. I just hope America sees the truth about these partisan republicans.

    February 8, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  22. Diane Dagenais Turbide

    It was a big ego show from Sen. Gregg.

    February 8, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  23. El Kababa

    "Last week, for example, Sen. Judd Gregg, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, lambasted the administration for its proposal to use money from the Troubled Asset Relief Program to fund a new program for small businesses."

    Do you see how Conservatives work. Their rules of engagement say that they must oppose everything that Obama does from the time he gets out of the shower until the time he kisses his wife good night. So, Conservatives must find a way to oppose good programs.

    We're all concerned about small businesses and we're not at all worried about the survival of global corporations. But this Conservative is opposed to WHERE THE MONEY COMES FROM, not in the proposed use of the money. This nuanced opposition shows the true Conservative strategy.

    Q: How do you know a Conservative is lying.
    A: If he is breathing.

    February 8, 2010 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  24. Hammerer

    If congress is serious about jobs they should demand that the immigration laws be enforced.
    With enforcement about 15 million jobs would be created without spending a dime. Also the cost for supporting the illegals would add billions to the treasurey and taxes collected from citizens working in jobs that illegals hold and do not pay taxes would also go along ways toward paying down the national debt.
    The only cost would be voters for the Dems.

    February 8, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  25. Jim

    Big Money went to big banks but they have done little to help the small business. Now, let's try the small banks for small business. The republicans oppose the little guy at every turn. What's with these people? It's long past time to help mainstreet rebuild the economy. Judging by the repubs at the State of the Union, they oppose getting all the tarp money back from the banks. Corporate welfare is the ultimate socialist program. Wake up America.

    February 8, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |