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John Boehner Says Obama's Budget Plan Will 'Destroy Jobs'

3 years ago
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The budget for next year that President Obama plans to send to Capitol Hill on Monday will "destroy jobs" because it fails to rein in federal spending, Speaker John Boehner said Sunday.

"He's going to present a budget tomorrow that will continue to destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much, and taxing too much," Boehner said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Boehner said he had sent a letter to Obama signed by 150 economists who say "that cutting spending now will help create a better environment so that we can begin to create jobs in our country. This is a critically important step, if we're going to end the uncertainty and start to give investors and small business people the confidence to invest in our economy."

Boehner's negative reaction to news reports on what Obama's budget will contain was echoed by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan on "Fox News Sunday."

"It sounds like the similar budgets that he has been giving us the last couple of years," Ryan said. "It looks like to me that it is going to be very small on spending discipline and a lot of new spending so-called investments."

Obama's third budget will claim to reduce the federal deficit by $1.1 trillion over the next decade and will start with reductions in the upcoming fiscal year in many domestic programs prized by Democrats, according to reports in The New York Times and The Washington Post.

A key element of Obama's plan is a five-year freeze in domestic spending, but Ryan was unimpressed.

"This discretionary freeze is off of an extremely high base," Ryan said. "They just blew spending out the gates in the last two years. A 24 percent increase in domestic discretionary spending. When you throw stimulus on top, it was an 84 percent increase, and he wants to freeze for a few years off those high levels. It is less than 1 percent of spending over the next 10 years."

Boehner said, "Locking in that level of spending is way too much."

As concerns rise over the federal deficit issue and the size of the national debt, the administration is hoping to stake its claim as one committed to getting spending under control, although the Times reported that "the administration readily concedes, even boasts, that the president will not win any race to outcut Republicans."

The White House and Democrats in Congress hope to depict the more aggressive Republican budget-cutting effort as one that will harm Americans dependent on key government programs and undermine the economic recovery by eliminating spending for infrastructure and other job-creating projects.

Even before it turns to next year's budget, House Republicans have already put forward a plan to cut $61 billion from this year's budget, including programs that Obama says are necessary to stimulate growth like high-speed rail, education and science research.

"If he is talking about coming and having new spending, so-called investments, that is not where we are going," Ryan said. "The great debate we are having in Congress now ... [is] how much to cut spending, not how much to increase spending. And these early press reports are showing us that he wants paltry savings on the one hand and a lot of new spending on the other hand."

Pressed on what the Republicans plan to do about the cost of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, which make up a big chunk of the budget, Ryan said it was too early to offer specifics of what the GOP might do, but said that if Obama's budget doesn't address the problem, he would be "abdicating leadership on dealing with this entitlement crisis."

"Presidents are elected to lead, not to punt and this president has been punting," Ryan said.

On NBC, Boehner said of the entitlements programs, "I think it's incumbent on the leaders in Washington ... to go out and help the American people understand how big the problem is. Once the American people begin to get their arms around the size of the problem, then and only then should we begin to lay out an array of possible solutions to have that conversation."

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