The Daily Caller

The Daily Caller

Legislative Lowdown: The five trillion dollar man

Photo of Brian Darling
Brian Darling
Senior Fellow, The Heritage Foundation

President Barack Obama has done something no other president has ever done.

Just as Barry Bonds set the single-season record for home runs, Obama is the debt leader of politics. He has set the single-term record for debt, breaking the $1 trillion mark every year in office. This week, he hit the $5 trillion mark, an all-time record for debt racked up during a single presidential term.

Pat Toomey’s budget

In stark contrast to the tax-and-spending ideas of the Obama administration stand the ideas being advanced by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.).

Next week, Toomey is hoping to get a vote on his budget for Fiscal Year 2012. His plan would balance the budget in eight years, reduce publicly held debt to approximately 56% of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2022 and lower spending to 18.3% of GDP.

Sen. Paul’s plan balances in five years and would jettison the Departments of Commerce, Education, Energy and Housing and Urban Development. Paul has been joined by Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) in his effort to cut spending by $4 trillion from Obama-promised levels.

Senate liberals have other plans. This past week, the Senate Budget Committee held a fake mark-up of Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad’s (D-N.D.) plan. Members of the committee were presented with a plan and not allowed any votes on the resolution. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has pledged not to allow the Senate to take a vote on a budget resolution this year, so this was merely a dog-and-pony show designed to make it look like liberals have budget ideas.

Sen. Toomey was so outraged by Conrad’s antics that he took to the Senate floor: “I don’t think that anyone really can dispute the notion that the greatest challenge facing our federal government right now is that we’re on a completely unsustainable fiscal path.” He continued: “And yet … the majority party, the party that has asked to be in control of the entire federal government and, in fact, is in control of the Senate, refuses to lay out a vision for where they want to take this country.”

Let’s hope the Senate schedules a vote on Toomey’s budget.

Senate going postal

The Senate has been considering a so-called “21st Century Postal Service Act of 2011,” S. 1789. According to Heritage Action for America, this bill includes a massive a $41 billion bailout. It also does nothing to reform the United States Postal Service (USPS).

The postal service needs to end Saturday delivery and cut some employees that are not a necessary part of the modern-day postal service. I love the people who deliver the mail, and they work for an institution that I hold dear memories of. Yet it needs reform, and this bill does not lock in any significant ones. Maybe it should be sent to the dead-letter office.