Obama, Republicans foreshadow spending duels in Washington
January 5th, 2013
06:00 AM ET
10 years 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. Squigman

    There's no getting around it. Many posting here believe with all their might, that the present financial situation is a product of massive domestic spending done in the last five years. They fail to acknowledge the previous administrations tax cuts to the wealthy, the war on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq (which were never found), even after being told they didn't exist by United Nations inspectors. And then the invasion of Afganistan. But they sure seem to keep track of every penny spent on helping some person here in the U.S.. Seems we can't do enough to keep the war machine nicely oiled, but just let someone need a hand up, a meal, or some health care here at home and all hell breaks loose. Maybe they'll need a hand up some day too. Hope they are able to attain their needs.

    January 5, 2013 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  2. David

    If congress didn't know how a bill could be paid for they shouldn't have passed it to begin with; tell me why the GOP is insisting on offsets now when they didn't for the two unfunded wars they started, the prescription drug bill they passed, etc.

    January 5, 2013 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  3. Randy, San Francisco

    Two wars unpaid for and a trillion dollars tax cut for the rich during the Bush years added to the fiscal deficit. Now the Republicans want to place the burden of reducing the deficit on seniors, poor, and the sick. Is the GOP/Tea Party really for family values?

    January 5, 2013 03:42 pm at 3:42 pm |
  4. Jeetu

    Spending cuts alone will not solve the problem as countries like Greece and Spain have found out. Spending cuts will reduce the jobs and hence will cause more problems. It will also decease the revenue and hence will increase the deficit. Republicans do not wish to close the loopholes in taxes and other greedy programs of their that help only the rich at the cost of the jobs and the country's well-being. These republicans need to think of the country first and then anything else. How can they think that investment in education, energy etc are luxury? Have they forgotten that without education, USA would not be where it is today. How many of these repulicans borrow money for their mortages and other expeneses? Are they stealing from their childern in doing so or are they hopeing for better future for themselves? The answers to these questions should provide them some insights for the country and the need for balanced approach and bipartisan solutions.

    January 5, 2013 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  5. Martha in CF

    I think all entitlements for congress should be eliminated once they leave office. Also any time not spent at the capital doing Americas work –congress should not be paid for. The house is spending more time away from DC–make them stay in DC and get some work done for a change.......that should save a lot of money!!!!!!!!!!!!

    January 5, 2013 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  6. mike

    biggest percentage of our debt came not from the last four years, that was very minimal in comparison the aitems to substantially increase the debt where the two unfunded , and Bushes tax cuts all of which were never paid for. How irresponsible is it for the Congress not to pay for things they agreed to pass. They are acting like stupid children who are not just threatening our economy which would go down the tubes very quickly, but the whole global economy that would follow very quickly. The debt limit has nothing to do with shutting down the government...how stupid can they be they dont even know what the heck they are talking about..Obama stand firm. They will cave once their buddies on Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce see their profits threatened. As they say never take a hostage that youre not prepared to ..trust me eare not prepared to shoot!

    January 5, 2013 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  7. Gary L. Street

    Mr. Camp, good Idea...Let's start with stopping congressional salaries and benefits. Let's eliminate current government retirement and put all government personnel on Social Security retirement. While you are at it, offset every dollar of tax cuts with the elimination of equal dollars of corporate welfare.

    January 5, 2013 05:09 pm at 5:09 pm |
  8. The Truth Hurts!

    Clearly, the Republican party is on a mission to destroy what Dubya & Co. left of America...

    January 5, 2013 06:44 pm at 6:44 pm |
  9. Name lynn

    money money spending spending when is this going to be over with the congress can bag up some money bills but when its come to obama its a problem they are unstupid not stupid

    January 5, 2013 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  10. Ancient Texan

    Jeetu- Students received a much better education prior to the Federal Government takeover of education and it cost but a fraction of what it does now. States and local school districts can handle it for less and with much better results. BTW- Romney was FOR closing loopholes in tax returns, the Dems will not even consider tax overhauls.

    January 5, 2013 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  11. joepa14221

    you know you here liberals complain about the unpaid for wars, and the tax cut for the wealthy. Yes, they are right that this added to the debt, but only a total of 2 trillion. And part of that was under Obama. If you don't raise taxes on the middle class like neither Obama or the republicans want to do. Then spending cuts and entitlement reforms are needed. 40% is the tax increase on everyone is needed to just break even on the budget.

    January 5, 2013 07:01 pm at 7:01 pm |

    The revisionist history above is breathtaking. Democrats voted for both wars. The Bush tax cuts were across the board. Every tax rate got the same percentage break. It is entitlement spending (vote buying at its best) that is destroying the budget. Medicare has been a fiscal nightmare since it was passed. There are no SS reserves. They have been spending them since the 70's. All of the analysis by CBO on the viability of SS include the assumption that the IOU's in the SS trust fund can be made good. With our aging population, those reserves can not be replaced. We already spend 2 dollars for every dollar we take in in taxes. Our debt will kill all of this entitlement spending in less than 10 years, and what does Obama do? He creates more entitlement spending with Obamacare.

    January 5, 2013 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  13. J.V.Hodgson

    Comparing the US economy and debt with Greece, Spain, and Italy is both fallacious and simple scare mongering that serves no purpose whatsoever. The US economy is growing these 3 countries have been in deep recession for years.
    No one disagrees that spending cuts are needed and that the size thereof needs to be about $1.2 tr over 10 years.
    As usual there is bickering about how. On a start line for compromise if the big areas are Defense and entitlements
    Then I say Republicans find 250 BN on defense ( repubs) and entitlements (Dems) respectively ( or vice versa) over 10 years. on these headings.
    Then you look how to get the other $700 bn.
    To stimulate the economy and job growth I suggest congress reduce the corporate tax rate this year 2013/ 2014 to 32% and cut all the tax breaks and loopholes as the first step to overall tax reform. The revenue generated is put into job trainig and infrastructure spending and education. In 2014/2015 it drops to 30 % and 2015/2106 to 28%.
    we can also then from 2014/2015 look at caps on allowances and reliefs in the Income tax code. To help keep net government spending lower.
    Then you can look at other discretionary spending for the needed amount up to $1.2 tr.
    There is something in that for both sides as long as you start from the point of view of the countries interests, and not damaging job growth or economic growth by too mush one side austerity which is what is wrong in Europe especially Greece, Spain and Italy.

    January 6, 2013 12:04 am at 12:04 am |
  14. Gonzoinhouston

    The time to reduce spending and debt is when the economy is healthy. This is what did happen under Clinton and did not happen under W. The only answer to the current recession is growth, and in our economy that means middle-class consumption. The wealth of the middle class has slowly been redistributed to the wealthy over the past 30 years by our tax structure. We have to move some (not all) of the wealth back to the middle class. This, not tax cuts for the rich, is what will stimulate the economy, which will make debt reduction possible.

    January 6, 2013 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
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