Politics

Senate GOP: Entitlement cuts Obama’s responsibility to propose

Alex Brown
Contributor

With a budget showdown looming, Republican Senate leaders turned up the heat Tuesday on President Obama, pinning responsibility on the White House to propose cuts in entitlement spending and saying Obama would have to “bite the bullet” to keep the national debt under control.

“There will be no entitlement reform without presidential leadership,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McConnell said Republicans would listen to proposed cuts from the president, but would refuse to compromise on raising taxes.

Tennessee Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander echoed McConnell, putting the responsibility for spending cuts on the White House, not Congress.

“We need to deal with the entire budget, and we can’t do that unless the president himself says, ‘All right, I’m ready to bite the bullet, and I need some of you to go with me,’ and some of us are,” Alexander told reporters. “In fact, there’s a lot of us [that] are. A Congress of 535 people can’t speak with a single voice. The president can.”

Congress has less than a month to reach an agreement on how to fund the government beyond March 4, when the latest temporary funding measure expires.

The continuing resolution, which is currently keeping the government operational, is a stopgap measure to fund government operations until Congress reaches a budget resolution. Legislators from both parties have expressed concern over a potential government shutdown if Congress cannot agree upon a funding measure before then.

McConnell accused Democrats of trying to scapegoat Republicans by bringing up the possibility of a shutdown. He said the resolution, along with Obama’s request to raise the debt ceiling, provided “opportunities to do something important on spending and debt.”

Alexander pointed to the nation’s trillion-dollar deficit, saying, “you don’t have to get very far beyond third grade math to know that our country’s headed for trouble unless we reduce spending.” He said Obama’s State of the Union address lacked a sense of urgency over the debt, but the real test would be when the president releases his budget next week.

Among the entitlement programs up for cuts, Alexander said that Social Security was a “good place to start.”

“The era of Social Security surpluses is over,” Alexander said. “It’s very significant that this year Social Security has more money going out than coming in, and it’s very significant that in the next ten years Social Security will add a half trillion dollars to the deficit. Social Security would be a good place to start when dealing with these mandatory entitlement programs that are 57 percent of our budget.”

  • Pingback: Report: House GOP in revolt against leadership, demanding steeper budget cuts « Hot Air

  • Bluegrass

    A great place to start cutting would be programs like Safelinkwireless.com which provide free cell phones and free minutes (68-250 per month) for welfare recipients. This latest entitlement is growing at an amazing rate.

  • ojfl

    I think the GOP will be waiting for some time. It does not seem the president has any appetite to deal with entitlements and reduction of them. Otherwise he would have said something in the SOTU and would not have created a new entitlement with Obamacare.

  • Joe Steel

    “The era of Social Security surpluses is over,” Alexander said. “It’s very significant that this year Social Security has more money going out than coming in, and it’s very significant that in the next ten years Social Security will add a half trillion dollars to the deficit.”

    Alexander is wrong. Social Security is not going to add a penny to the debt. It’s going to liquidate some of it assets to cover it’s obligations. Of course, the US Treasury may have to borrow to cover the payments to SS but that’s not SS’s problem. And the Treasury doesn’t have to borrow. The US debt doesn’t have to increase. All we have to do is raise taxes on the slackers who have been getting a nearly free ride for all these years since Ronald “Bonzo” Reagan engineered the cut in marginal tax rates.