Republican presidential hopefuls slam Obama’s budget

Alexis Levinson Political Reporter
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Three of the Republicans who might look to take President Barack Obama’s job in 2016 pilloried Obama’s budget, which was released Tuesday.

House Budget Committee Chairman and 2012 vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan called the budget plan, “yet another disappointment.”

“[I]t reinforces the status quo,” Ryan said in a statement. “It would demand that families pay more so Washington can spend more. It would hollow out our defense capabilities. And it would do nothing to preserve or strengthen our entitlements. The President has just three years left in his administration, and yet he seems determined to do nothing about our fiscal challenges.”

“This budget isn’t a serious document; it’s a campaign brochure,” he said. “In divided government, we need leadership and collaboration. And in this budget, we have neither.”

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, another 2016 prospect for Republicans, slammed the budget as showing a “disconnect” and criticizing, in particular, the cuts to the military budget.

“President Obama’s budget shows an alarming disconnect with threats to the American Dream at home and threats to our national security abroad,” Rubio said in a statement.

“As recent events in Ukraine show, the world is as dangerous as ever. Our enemies are emboldened every time we fail to uphold our commitments and every time we naively try to address our serious debt problem by weakening our military strength and readiness, as this budget does,” he said. “This budget walks away from the reality that America and the world are safer when America is as strong as possible economically and militarily.”

Rubio also pilloried the lack of entitlement reform in the budget.

“This budget is a disappointing admission that President Obama has no intention of seeking any reforms to save our safety net programs. We need to save Medicare and Social Security to not only ensure future seniors can retire with dignity and a safety net, but also to make sure that we don’t sacrifice our security in order to deal with our debt,” he said.

“While there are many other areas of this budget that we will continue discussing in the coming days and weeks, I am concerned by the President’s call to expand the status quo on the Earned Income Tax Credit. We should be reforming this flawed approach to helping low-income workers, not expanding it. As I suggested earlier this year, we should convert the EITC into a wage enhancement that is distributed to workers throughout the year, not in one big lump sum as it does now,” Rubio said.

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum,* who gave Mitt Romney a run for the nomination in 2012, said the budget was “anything but serious.”

“President Obama’s new budget is not new at all, it’s just more of the same,” Santorum said in a statement provided to The Daily Caller. “Not only was it a month late, but the President’s budget is anything but serious. Instead of moving toward a balanced budget, this proposal spends more than our government can afford, taxes American families more than they should, while gutting our military at a time of international turmoil.”

“During the President’s term, nearly $7 trillion dollars has been added to our national debt. Today’s proposal increases spending by over 60% over the next 10 years and never even reaches balance. That is unsustainable. We need a budget that is fiscally responsible and a government that lives within its means. We need to address the looming entitlement crisis, not place additional taxes and spending on to the backs of working Americans. The President’s proposal is irresponsible and shows an utter disregard for average working families,” he added.

The president’s budget, which was released Tuesday, has virtually no chance of moving forward in the divided congress, and was met with scorn and depredation by Republicans. Speaker of the House John Boehner called it Obama’s “most irresponsible budget yet” and said “it would hurt our economy and cost jobs.” Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, proclaimed the plan “an open declaration that deficits don’t matter, debt doesn’t matter, and that reality itself doesn’t matter.”

*This post has been updated with Santorum’s comments.

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