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Posted at 2:41 PM ET, 02/16/2011

Senate Democrats sign onto Obama's five-year spending freeze

By Felicia Sonmez

Senate Democrats on Wednesday announced that they will support President Obama's proposed five-year freeze on domestic discretionary spending, a move that comes as the White House and congressional Republicans do battle over the president's budget proposal for the next fiscal year.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.), Majority Whip Dick Durbin (Ill.), Democratic Policy and Communications Committee Chairman Charles Schumer (N.Y.) and Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray (Wash.) announced their agreement to the spending freeze at a Capitol news conference at which they also outlined a legislative agenda aimed at creating jobs and boosting American competitiveness. The Senate Democratic leaders made the announcement hours ahead of a scheduled White House meeting with Obama and Vice President Biden Wednesday afternoon.

"'Winning the Future' is about making smart choices that cut waste and excess while creating jobs and keeping America competitive," Reid said at the Wednesday news conference, referring to the White House slogan coined by Obama in the State of the Union address. He was flanked by large signs bearing the words "out-build," "out-educate" and "out-innovate."

"We also need to live within our means, that means reducing government spending and cutting the deficit. That's why Senate Democrats support President Obama's five-year spending freeze."

The White House and congressional Democrats have estimated the freeze would save the government $400 billion over the next decade and would bring domestic discretionary spending to the lowest level since the Eisenhower administration.

Republicans on Wednesday renewed their criticism of the plan as a "timid" move that would do little to address the country's serious worries. In a floor speech, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) sought to contrast the spending freeze proposal with House Republicans' efforts to cut $61 billion in federal spending for the rest of the fiscal year, which ends in September.

"We find one party in the House of Representatives making a genuine effort to cut spending and debt, and we find Democrats in the Senate announcing today that they intend to line up behind the President's timid proposal for a partial spending freeze," McConnell said. "In other words, Democrat leaders in Congress intend to join the President in resigning themselves to a future of growing debts and deficits at a time when Americans are demanding cuts instead."

The Senate Democratic leaders said the decision on agreeing to the spending freeze was reached at last week's Democratic retreat in Charlottesville, Va. The legislative agenda outlined by the leaders on Wednesday includes measures such as the Federal Aviation Administration re-authorization bill currently being debated in the Senate as well as infrastructure initiatives, a patent-reform bill and a measure that would penalize China for allegedly manipulating its currency.

By Felicia Sonmez  | February 16, 2011; 2:41 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency  
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Comments

Must be a slip of the tongue : what Mr BOENHER meant was "If OBAMA won't fail, we will".

Posted by: WithAllDueRespectAndAppreciation | February 17, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Where were the republicans when Ronnie tripled the deficit and when Georgie Boy didn't fund medicare D and two wars?

Posted by: blarsen1 | February 17, 2011 2:40 AM | Report abuse

What about the 800LB gorilla in the room? DESTRUCTION SPENDING - authorizing the killing and maiming of hundreds of thousands since 9/11---htis travesty is ALL ON YOUR HEADS as the American public is against these senseless wars and invasions....below the REAL cost of defense and security that congree sna dthe senate so aptly hide from the American people....IT IS HIGH CRIME AGAINST HUMANITY!

The defense budget that both parties and the media present to the American populace are not even close to the reality- we are WASTING over $1.5 TRILLION a year- below are the REAL defense and security numbers-

The real cost of military and security spending= FY 2009

Current Military $965 billion:
• Military Personnel $129 billion
• Operation & Maint. $241 billion
• Procurement $143 billion
• Research & Dev. $79 billion
• Construction $15 billion
• Family Housing $3 billion
• DoD misc. $4 billion
• Retired Pay $70 billion
• DoE nuclear weapons $17 billion
• NASA (50%) $9 billion
• International Security $9 billion
• Homeland Secur. (military) $35 billion
• State Dept. (partial) $6 billion
• other military (non-DoD) $5 billion
• “Global War on Terror” $200 billion [We added $162 billion to the last item to supplement the Budget’s grossly underestimated $38 billion in “allowances” to be spent in 2009 for the “War on Terror,” which includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan]
Past Military,
$484 billion:
• Veterans’ Benefits $94 billion
• Interest on national debt (80%) created by military spending, $390 billion
Subtotal = $1,449 TRILLION

Does not include the following-
+ Three letter intel agencies $80 Billion (number estimated by the wash post)

REAL TOTAL = $1,529 TRILLION

TIME TO END THE DESTRUCTION IDIOTCY quit wasting our tax dollars looking for supposed terrorists who live in caves and huts approx. 3,500 miles from here.....cut defense and security spending in half and half the deficit is gone....end the KILLING!

Posted by: ticked | February 16, 2011 9:50 PM | Report abuse

The problem is Defense and National Security Spending. Off limits at $1.4 trillion a year. Then you are left cutting puny programs like school lunches for poor kids. How pathetic and sad it is.

Posted by: magnifco1000 | February 16, 2011 9:18 PM | Report abuse

This is like an alcoholic saying they are going to freeze their drinking at two gallons of vodka a day. Roll back to 2006 spending and it may have something. Freezing spending at the highest level in out Nation's history is a scam.

Posted by: Bubbette1 | February 16, 2011 9:05 PM | Report abuse

Senate Democrats sign onto Obama's five-year spending freeze.

Excuse me, did I miss something between the oath of office and high speed rail?
You can blow smoke up a liberals backside and get away with it, he's to busy standing there holding his hand out to pay any attention to what exactly is being said.
You think you lost last November, keep blowing smoke and see what you lose come the next election, and that goes for Dems and Repubs alike.
Get a spine or sit down and shutup.

Posted by: jhnjdy | February 16, 2011 7:49 PM | Report abuse

Senate Democrats sign onto Obama's five-year spending freeze.

Excuse me, did I miss something between the oath of office and high speed rail?
You can blow smoke up a liberals backside and get away with it, he's to busy standing there holding his hand out to pay any attention to what exactly is being said.
You think you lost last November, keep blowing smoke and see what you lose come the next election, and that goes for Dems and Repubs alike.
Get a spine or sit down and shutup.

Posted by: jhnjdy | February 16, 2011 7:48 PM | Report abuse

A freeze is not a rollback on spending.
How about a bill for a law like Nevada has, that would put the POTUS and Congress in jail if there is no balanced budget?????

Posted by: dottydo | February 16, 2011 6:57 PM | Report abuse

Florida's governor rejected a high speed rail project. Instead of putting that money back in the Treasury - perhaps reallocated toward debt - NY senators Gillibrand and Schumer want the money reallocated to NY. How can you ever catch up with that kind of mentality? If you reject something as not responsible, someone else will spend the money instead, so why not keep what you had. Pigs at the trough. When something is cancelled the allocated money should be non available for other things. "If you don't spend it I will" is no philosophy to live particularly when you are in debt

Posted by: tnvret | February 16, 2011 5:34 PM | Report abuse


The Dims still have a chance to repeal Obamacare in the Senate. All will not be forgiven, but some of it might.

Posted by: screwjob23 | February 16, 2011 4:58 PM | Report abuse

Spending freezes on discretionary spending will not do the trick. The funding for development and growth is in the discretionary budge and so what we are doing is leaving mandatory spending untouched and instead cutting on investment in our future. Also, most cuts have so far taken place IN the discretionary budget and it has too little fat left.

All of this makes no sense. The mandatory part of the budget MUST be cut.

Posted by: rjpal | February 16, 2011 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Democrats sorry but we are a few trillion past the point of "spending freezes". That's a bandaid approach and sadly it's not enough. It's time to make deep cuts in our budget. It's necessary if we as a nation are to survive. Why is this hard for you to understand?

Posted by: Desertdiva1 | February 16, 2011 4:23 PM | Report abuse

Except! Except in their district!

Posted by: KBlit | February 16, 2011 4:08 PM | Report abuse

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