Tales from the Trail

Budget and bipartisanship don’t mix on Valentine’s Day

February 14, 2011

Where’s the love?

Despite all the (whining?) and dining at the White House in the hopes of  bipartisanship and civility, Republicans got out the trash-talk for  President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget proposal.

USA-BUDGET /Since Republicans control the House, and Democrats the Senate and White House, bipartisan action will be needed if any progress is to be made. Congressional Correspondent Richard Cowan takes a look at how the budget process works here.

Obama released a $3.7 trillion proposal as the first salvo in the annual budget wars. Republicans immediately marched out their disapproval.

Republican House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan: “The president’s budget accelerates our country down the path to bankruptcy.”

Senator Jeff Sessions, senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee: “Today he submitted a budget to Congress that accelerates our dangerous trajectory. His budget increases spending every single year, eventually doubling the size of  the entire government from what it was the day he took office.”

Democrats talked back.

Representative Chris Van Hollen, the senior Democrat on  the House Budget Committee: “We need to get serious about debts and deficits in this country – but while Democrats propose smart, precise cuts, the GOP wants to blindly slash in the short-term and has no plan for long-term fiscal sustainability.”

Not surprisingly, Van Hollen said fellow Democrat Obama’s budget showed fiscal discipline: “It is a tough love budget.”

Despite all the words today, the series of spending bills that actually implement the budget won’t emerge for months and months,  after many congressional hearings and behind-closed-door negotiations.

In fact, Congress still hasn’t passed the 12 spending bills from last year, and has kept government programs funded through short-term bills with the threat of a government shutdown hanging over each of those votes.

Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Senate staffer carries a copy of Obama’s 2012 budget proposal)

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