Republicans attack Obama for spending too much, cutting too close to home
By Michael D. Shear
Republican lawmakers continue to bash President Obama's budget for failing to effectively control spending and adding to the nation's long-term debt.
But many of the same lawmakers are complaining about the spending cuts that affect their own communities, often aiming those comments at their constituents back home.
Sen. Christopher S. Bond (R-Mo.), for example, lashed out at Obama for "the same old big government budget that will spend too much, borrow too much, and tax too much." He said: "I'm feeling a lot like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day."
But at the same time, Bond issued a statement criticizing Obama's proposed cuts in the military's C-17 aircraft program -- cuts that happen to affect thousands of jobs in Missouri.
"Despite the need for the proven, on-time, and on-budget workhorse, the President once again wants to shut down our nation's only large airlift line in production," Bond said in a statement.
Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.), called Obama's budget "another massive budget filled with even more spending than last year's record totals."
But in the Lexington Herald-Leader back home, a McConnell spokesman made it clear that the senator opposes Obama's proposal to slash coal subsidies by $2.3 billion over 10 years as part of his climate change legislation.
"Senator McConnell opposes both the president's proposed new national energy tax and the tax on coal included in his budget outline unveiled today,' spokesman Robert Steurer said in the paper. "Both would hurt Kentucky families who are dependent on coal for their livelihood."
McConnell spokesman Don Stewart said by e-mail that what Democrats consider an end to subsidies is the equivalent of tax increases on the coal industry.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.) slams Obama, saying that "instead of reigning in this out-of-control spending, the President has proposed a budget that would increase deficit spending by 35 percent over the next five years."
But like other members of the Texas delegation, Cornyn takes exception to the spending cuts Obama has proposed to the NASA space program, which would affect jobs in Texas.
"I will work with my colleagues in Congress to ensure the budget funds Constellation, and I look forward to Congress' taking up NASA's reauthorization to ensure the agency, and the tens of thousands of men and women who compose our space program, finally receive a clear and bold vision for the future," Cornyn wrote in a statement.
The lawmakers in question defend their positions, saying that there is nothing wrong with being critical of the overall size of Obama's budget while criticizing individual proposals.
"There's no inconsistency in saying $3.8 trillion is too much spending overall, but that America's human space flight program is the wrong place to cut," Cornyn said in a statement released by his office. "Budgeting is about priorities: if we ended TARP and returned unspent stimulus funds, then the Constellation program wouldn't be on the
A McConnell aide said the senator does not apologize for his position relating to coal.
"As you know, there is currently a corporate tax rate for manufacturers (to encourage domestic manufacturing and JOBS)," the aide wrote. "The administration's budget proposes RAISING that rate for coal--but not for other manufacturers. Sen. McConnell opposes tax hikes; the administration does not."
Michael D. Shear
February 4, 2010; 3:02 PM ET
Categories: 44 The Obama Presidency , Barack Obama
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