Senate Democrats back Obama's proposed spending freeze
February 16th, 2011
04:13 PM ET
11 years ago

Senate Democrats back Obama's proposed spending freeze

Washington (CNN) - Senate Democrats said Wednesday they would sign on to President Obama's proposed five-year spending freeze as they attempt to wrest back headlines from Republicans' dramatic spending cut debate in the House.

"What we've gotten initially from the Republicans in the House is to whack more than a million jobs, and so our agenda is to create jobs, to do something about the debt," said House Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada.

Reid pledged Democrats would freeze domestic, discretionary spending for the next five years, which the president first proposed in his State of the Union address in January. The White House estimates a freeze would save $400 billion over ten years.

The decision signals that Senate Democrats–particularly liberals who think the president's proposed spending cuts are too deep– appear poised to put aside their differences and work with the White House on its budget plan.

The announcement came as members of the House enter their second day of debate over this year's budget, which Republicans are using to try to slash billions of dollars of spending. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-New York, called those cuts "a roadmap to disaster."

"Just contrast the difference between our ideas and what the Republicans are doing," Schumer said. "The House Republican spending measures would gut our ability to create jobs."

At their press conference, Senate Democrats spoke about the need to invest in clean energy, infrastructure and education to "win the future" and keep the economy from dipping back into a recession.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, scoffed at Democrats' planned spending freeze in remarks on the Senate floor.

"We find one party in the House of Representatives making a genuine effort to cut spending and debt, and we find Democrats in the Senate announcing today that they intend to line up behind the President's timid proposal for a partial spending freeze," McConnell said. "In other words, Democrat leaders in Congress intend to join the President in resigning themselves to a future of growing debts and deficits at a time when Americans are demanding cuts instead."

Filed under: Congress • Senate Democrats
soundoff (11 Responses)
  1. ConservaFascists

    The ConservaFascists have no plan to create jobs. They're at war with the middle class.

    February 16, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  2. lou

    All these politicians think it is their job to create jobs. The only way they can make businesses hire people is to appeal to their bottom line. Tie corporate tax cuts on a sliding scale based on how many jobs they create. They're getting these tax cuts anyway. Make them worth something to the American people.

    February 16, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  3. gt

    a freeze at 2008 spending

    February 16, 2011 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  4. Dean

    o nce upon a time the government had a vast scrap yard in the middle of a desert. Congress said, "Someone may steal from it at night." So they created a night watchman position and hired a person for the job.

    Then Congress said, "How does the watchman do his job without instruction?" So they created a planning department and hired two people, one person to write the instructions, and one person to do time studies.

    Then Congress said, "How will we know the night watchman is doing the tasks correctly?" So they created a Quality Control department and hired two people. One to do the studies and one to write the reports.

    Then Congress said, "How are these people going to get paid?" So They created two positions: a time keeper and a payroll officer, then hired two people.

    Then Congress said, "Who will be accountable for all of these people?" So they created an administrative section and hired three people, an Administrative Officer, Assistant Administrative Officer, and a Legal Secretary.

    Then Congress said, "We have had this command in operation for one Year and we are $918,000 over budget, we must cutback." So they laid off the night watchman.

    NOW slowly, let it sink in.

    Quietly, we go like sheep to slaughter.

    Does anybody remember the reason given for the establishment of the DEPARTMENT OF ENERGY..... during the Carter Administration?




    Didn't think so!

    Bottom line. We've spent several hundred billion dollars in support of an agency....the reason for which not many people who read this can remember!

    Ready?? It was very simple..and at the time, everybody thought it very appropriate.

    The Department of Energy was instituted on 8/04/1977, TO LESSEN OUR DEPENDENCE ON FOREIGN OIL.

    Hey, pretty efficient, huh???

    33 years ago 30% of our oil consumption was foreign imports. Today 70% of our oil consumption is foreign imports.
    Ah, yes - good old Democratic – Federal bureaucracy.

    February 16, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  5. Inmyopinion

    How many more times do we have to hear Democrats repeat their promise, strategy without actually fullfilling their promise or carrying out their strategy. Seriously, the stimulus package money should not have gone to AIG, ACORN, Hollywood studios, etc....which did not create new jobs, instead it should have gone towards putting people to work in clean energy long term projects, infastructure which there is a lot that needs to be done there nationwide and education ( instead we're letting teachers go because of no money).

    February 16, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. MPeters

    I'm demanding smart cuts. Cutting budget for the sake of cutting budget is a stupid idea. It gets you ideas like..."Oh, we don't need to inspect meat in this country for 9 months, let's furlough all of those meat inspectors and save $200 million....What, you say we might get tainted meat, sickness may ensue? Really? Its ok, I make enough money to hire a food taster, I'll be fine."

    Let's roll back those damn tax cuts that added $800 Billion to the deficit over the next two years, and which would add $3.7 Trillion to the deficit over the next 10. 3% in taxes for people who make over $250K on one side of the scale v. Slashing Budget to employ Food Inspectors to make sure food in this country is not tainted on the other. WHY IS THIS SUCH A NO BRAINER!?

    February 16, 2011 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. ConservaFascists

    Let's not forget people that the Bush tax cuts were meant to expire at the end of 2010 for a reason. They weren't paid for. Just like evrything else George W. Bush initiated wasn't paid for. But the ConservaFascists just had to keep their tax cuts. $400 billion worth that won't create a freaking job! We are going to hell in a handbasket and we can thank the ConservaFascists.

    February 16, 2011 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  8. Rickster

    "our agenda is to create jobs, to do something about the debt," said House Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada."
    Really, Harry?.......ever since the dims took over congress in 2006 they've done what dims do everytime....spend, spend and spend some more. Then Obama took over and what did he do? spend, spend and spend some more driving the country to the brink of bankruptcy. Now Harry is concerned about the debt? Seriously, if you vote for dims or RINOs, you're a fool.

    February 16, 2011 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. NC

    Republicans want high unemployment figures, they want to win the White House in 2012. Republicans motto: we want to win elections, to Hell with the American people.

    February 16, 2011 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  10. D. Bunker

    I'm still waiting to hear what sacrifices the wealthy will make along with all those cuts being put on the poor and middle class. So far I'm hearing only crickets.

    February 16, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  11. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    All you poor unemployed and or working class people can rot before I pay higher taxes and yes, I'll keep using billions tax payer dollars for medical research which you'll never enjoy because you won't have healthcare. And forget about building better roads and hwys using tax payers dollars because I'm a real estate investor that borrows from government/banks to enrich myself from the real estate you lost. Vote Republican to keep me rich.

    February 16, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |