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2011 Budget: Reactions

By Ed O'Keefe

Several lawmakers and union leaders weighed in on President Obama's 2011 budget.

Updated 9:03 p.m. ET

Below find a sampling of the response to President Obama's fiscal 2011 budget. Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs, on the budget's chances for passage:

"I think the American people expect both political parties to work together to get things moved forward. So we're obviously optimistic that we can get a budget passed. It's an election year, and we all understand the games that Washington plays in an election year.

"But I hope that this will be a budget that will be taken up and passed. If people have disagreements about the priorities that the President has laid out, I think this is a perfect time for them to roll out and talk about what their proposals are."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.):

"The President’s budget has the right priorities: it focuses on creating jobs and restoring fiscal discipline. We know that we still have much work ahead of us, but President Obama deserves credit for reversing the failed policies of the previous administration, which led to massive deficits and the most severe recession in decades.

"When I hear from my constituents back in Nevada who are struggling through these tough economic times, they often cite concerns about our nation’s debt and the lack of good-paying, dependable jobs. This proposal addresses both of those issues by making tough choices and restoring pay-as-you-go budgeting, even while creating badly-needed jobs and cutting middle class taxes.

"Additionally, I applaud the President’s decision to end funding and pull the license application for the proposed dump at Yucca Mountain. Those of us who have been on the front lines of this fight for years know how important this development is to Nevadans."

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.):

“This morning, we received the administration’s budget for the next fiscal year. While there are plenty of issues raised by this budget, the fundamentals are clear: this budget is more of the same – more spending, more taxes and more debt.

“I think everyone can agree that last year’s budget spent too much. With the trillion-dollar stimulus bill and massive increases in optional spending, the administration and Democrats in Congress simply spent too much and took us into record territory. But the administration assured us that it was an anomaly—that we just needed to get through the year and then we’d get serious about our spending in 2010. Fiscal hawks on the other side of the aisle told us the same thing every time we raised the issue."

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):

"President Obama’s budget directly tackles our nation’s most pressing challenges -- reflecting our dedication to fiscal discipline and our commitment to keep jobs, growth, and opportunity at the top of our agenda.

"This budget builds on the success of the steps taken in the Recovery Act to create good-paying jobs, spur investment in small business, and get our country on the path to economic growth. Enshrined in this year’s budget is a renewed focus on the areas set to drive our economic recovery and form the foundation for long-term prosperity: affordable health care, clean energy, education, infrastructure, and innovation. By extending tax credits for small business owners, entrepreneurs, and middle-class families, we can create jobs and strengthen the key pillars key to our nation’s economic success."

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.):

“I look forward to reviewing President Obama’s budget in detail in the days to come, but I am happy to see that it combines job-creating incentives with a serious commitment to reducing our deficit.

"The President entered the White House with the country on the verge of another Depression, but Democratic policies have started to turn things around: job losses are down 90 percent from the end of the previous administration, and our economy grew by 5.7 percent in the last quarter of 2009. Today’s proposed budget would further our recovery by providing tax credits to small businesses that hire new employees, investing in job-creating infrastructure projects, and committing to innovation in energy technology."

House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio):

“Just three days after talking to House Republicans about the importance of fiscal responsibility, President Obama is submitting another budget that spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.

“Filled with more reckless spending and more unsustainable debt, the President’s budget is just more of the same at a time when the American people are looking for Democrats in Washington to listen and change course. Families asking ‘where are the jobs’ deserve better than more government ‘stimulus’ programs and another year of attempting to tax and spend our way to recovery. Under President Obama’s budget, the federal government will continue to live well beyond its means for years to come with no relief in sight."

Democratic National Committee Chairman Tim Kaine:

“Today, the President released a responsible budget that addresses the many challenges facing the country. As we all know, these are tough times. After nearly a decade of irresponsible tax cuts and spending that was not paid for, we’re facing a record deficit and high unemployment while, at the same time, fighting two wars.

"Upon taking office, President Obama took swift and decisive action to save the economy from total collapse. Now a year later, with the economy stabilizing and back on the right path, it’s time to rebuild on a new foundation based on fiscal responsibility."

Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee:

"The President’s budget illustrates a significant commitment to sound solutions for this country’s economic crisis. The job creation funds allocated in this budget will help rebuild the foundation of our economy – the middle class.

"They will help small businesses hire more workers and provide assistance to individuals, businesses and families to get through the recession. I’m committed to working with President Obama and my colleagues in Congress to pass legislation that meets the goals laid out in this budget to cut taxes for small businesses and working families. I expect we will soon release the first bill in the jobs agenda we will pursue this year."

Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), chairman of the Republican Study Committee:

"It’s astounding to hear the President talk about fiscal sanity but then turn around and propose the largest budget deficits in history. This administration’s rhetoric about reining in deficit spending is clearly not meant to be taken seriously. President Obama’s proposed $1.6 trillion deficit for next year is 3.5 times larger than the biggest deficit under any other American president.

"While the free-spending social democracies of the European Union are required to keep their debt below 60 percent of GDP, President Obama’s proposed budget would increase our own debt to 77.2 percent of GDP just ten years from now.

"And as if record deficits weren’t enough, President Obama’s budget still includes major tax increases that will hit our fragile economy like a brick wall. The last thing American small businesses need is a tax hike, but the President just announced he’s coming after their bottom line. This remarkable lack of understanding of what makes our economy grow is exactly what is preventing job creation."

Rep. Suzanne Kosmas (D-Fla.), whose district is home to many NASA employees:

“The budget released today unfortunately confirms our fears about plans for NASA. The President’s proposal lacks a bold vision for space exploration and begs for the type of leadership that he has described as critical for inspiring innovation for the 21st century.

“Leaving NASA with no detailed plan or timeline for exploring beyond Earth’s orbit will cede our international leadership in space, cost our country the numerous economic benefits of human spaceflight, and fail to inspire this and future generations to excel in science and technology.

"The cancellation of Orion is especially troubling and goes against the recommendations of the Augustine Commission. The State of Florida has made significant investments to prepare KSC facilities for Orion, and the Space Coast anticipated, invested in, and planned for the commitment to be fulfilled in order to help preserve jobs."

Gov. David Paterson (D-N.Y.):

"The federal budget that President Obama delivered today represents a blueprint for economic and fiscal recovery. His proposals to freeze discretionary spending and create a bi-partisan deficit reduction commission represent important steps toward addressing the fiscal mess that President Obama inherited from the Bush administration.

"In addition to laying the foundation for long-term responsible budgeting, President Obama has also put forward a bold job-creation and economic recovery agenda that will help put Americans back to work. I look forward to reviewing these and other proposals in the President's budget more comprehensively in the coming days and weeks."

John Gage, president of the American Federation of Government Employees:

“We are going to work very hard with Congress to adjust the 1.4% pay raise upward. While we are pleased that the administration recognizes the importance of pay parity between civilian employees and the military, a 1.4 percent pay raise will do nothing to close the remaining pay gap between federal and non-federal salaries.

"We’re talking about a pay raise that will take effect an entire year from now. Although the economy is still weak today, all signs point to a recovery by 2011, and by that time prices will be higher, health insurance premiums will be much, much higher, and labor markets will have tightened.”

Colleen M. Kelley, president of the National Treasury Employees Union:

"I understand that the president has frozen the pay of political appointees and members of the White House staff."

"I believe that all federal employees, whether civilian or military, are deserving of a fair pay raise."

David Wright, president of AFGE Local 918, which represents employees of the Federal Protective Service:

"On behalf of the men and women who protect federal buildings across this country, I am shocked that the Obama Administration's budget includes no additional funding for the Federal Protective Service -- one of the nation's most important homeland security agencies. In past past three years, the GAO has come out with no less than four reports detailing the impact of insufficient funding and manpower and the vulnerability it has created in our national homeland security safety net.

"Congress has held hearing after hearing on the situation and the issue has been widely reported in the press. Yet the agency remains underfunded, understaffed and unimproved in any real way. Even worse, the Administration is proposing to eliminate the minimum staffing standards established by Congress. This could signal an effort to reduce the size of this agency."

Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget:

"Clearly the Administration understands the importance of reducing the deficit, and is elevating the issue through this budget. A small spending freeze, some minor tax reforms to raise revenues, and a budget commission are all excellent ideas. But this budget doesn't go nearly far enough, and it will require presidential leadership to develop a responsible fiscal plan. This has to be the start-not the extent of-the President's push to implement a strategy to dig us out of this fiscal hole. "

"And yes, we know it is an election year, but we cannot continue to delay - foreign credit markets are really not interested in our partisan in-fighting - they are interested in whether the U.S will remain a safe place to invest."

Tom Schatz, president of Citizens Against Government Waste:

"The fact that tomorrow is Groundhog Day is apropos. Many of the budget-cutting proposals contained in the President's budget have been talked about year after year and they continue to receive funding from Congress. On the one hand, the President has publicly acknowledged that the federal budget is in grim shape. He seems to understand that something has gone dramatically wrong politically, since his approval ratings have plummeted and the groundswell of taxpayer anger is undeniable.

"But his approach is much too halfhearted. The President's budget revised the fiscal year 2010 deficit to $1.6 trillion and calls for a deficit of $1.3 trillion in fiscal year 2011. The total of $2.9 trillion over two years is equal to 40 percent of the combined $7.3 trillion in spending. No family or business can sustain that kind of debt to finance current expenditures. In a disjointed document, he calls for negligible spending cuts on a budget that grew 84 percent larger in FY 2010, proposes new federal spending programs, calls for tax increases of $2 trillion over 10 years, and continues to insist on a massive new healthcare entitlement and a cap-and-trade energy tax."

Tom Kiernan, president of the National Parks Conservation Association:

“During these tough economic times, Americans are visiting national parks in numbers not seen in years, stimulating local economies nationwide. Our national parks offer affordable vacation destinations for families and invaluable classrooms for America’s youth, and we must ensure they are fully protected and staffed.”

Penny Lee, spokeswoman for the Campaign to End Obesity:

“From investing in prevention and wellness programs to providing additional funding to offer Americans greater access to healthier foods, the President’s Budget provides a positive blueprint for policies that truly address the issue of obesity in America. It is exciting and promising that the Budget proposal released today reflects a serious commitment by the Administration to combat the obesity epidemic in America.”

Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood:

“President Obama’s 2011 budget provides more than $327 million to the Title X family planning program, an increase of $9.86 million over the previous year.

“While we welcome the increase in Title X funding, we hope to work with Congress to build on this funding, particularly as Americans continue to deal with difficult economic times. Health centers, like ours, are seeing an increase in the number of women seeking basic preventive care, while at the same time coping with stagnant funding. ... The president’s 2011 budget also invests in evidence-based sex education and allocates more than $133.6 million for medically accurate teen pregnancy prevention programs, an increase of $19.2 million from last year. Studies show that comprehensive sex education programs are effective in reducing teen pregnancy rates. Our shared goal must be to reduce both the unacceptably high rate of teenage pregnancies in this country and the alarming number of sexually transmitted infections."

Read our early list of winners and losers, watch The Eye's budget reactions and check out the ideas submitted by federal employees

RELATED: Full Federal Eye 2011 Budget Coverage

Full Washington Post 2011 Budget Coverage

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By Ed O'Keefe  | February 1, 2010; 4:24 PM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Next: Labor nominee M. Patricia Smith clears procedural hurdle


My thoughts on Senator McConnell comments are very negative and evil, therefore, I will refrain from saying what I really want to say.

Other than that, he is a lying, two-faced dweeb along with the rest of the GOP leadership.

If Mitch McConnell had an ounce of integrity in his old arse bones, he would realize that the stimulation package did not take the country into "trillion dollar record deficit territories". We were already there long before the stimulus package.

Mitch McConnell at the conservative party drove the federal deficit into the trillion dollar territories, under the Bush administration.

Posted by: lcarter0311 | February 1, 2010 7:00 PM | Report abuse

Republicans should give a Full Pardon to Repentant Blue Dog Dems

Boehner should approach select Blue Dog Dems and offer them equivalent Republican seniority for their service in Congress, but only through December 2009.

Yes, the Blue Dogs have been Dems and voted for some of Obama’s agenda.

But we have all done things to be ashamed of, and its time to let selected Blue Dogs repent and come home.

Also, the Dems plan for Obamacare has been clearly telegraphed–the bitter defeated UNEMPLOYED lame duck House Dems will seek to pass Obamacare in the dead of night--their last chance to spit on the American voter. Blue Dogs can defeat this.

Some of the Blue Dogs are extremely honorable, smart, and have character–in other words they should have been Republicans anyway.

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 1, 2010 8:49 PM | Report abuse

McConnell is too polite, and respectful of the office of President to call Obama a delusional LIAR.

But the voters in Massachusetts yelled loud and clear to Obama YOU LIE.

Here is McConnell TACTFULLY calling Obama a LIAR:

"With the trillion-dollar stimulus bill and massive increases in optional spending, the administration and Democrats in Congress simply spent too much and took us into record territory. But the administration assured us that it was an anomaly—that we just needed to get through the year and then we’d get serious about our spending in 2010. Fiscal hawks on the other side of the aisle told us the same thing every time we raised the issue."

Posted by: ProCounsel | February 1, 2010 8:53 PM | Report abuse

I would like to ask the republican rabid dogs to point out when George Bush created anything close to the truth when he was submitting his budget. Oh that's right, he actually wrote off Medicare part D, Iraq and Afghanistan war, and his tax cuts as free!!! Class act republicans, class act. Blame the President for speaking out how bad this country is doing instead of actually trying to right the ship.

Posted by: logicaldoubtofhumansanity | February 1, 2010 9:13 PM | Report abuse

Boehnor and McConnell are liars.

The only areas that can significantly reduce the deficit are:

Social Security

The President can't change that fact.

Congress has to move on eliminating Medicare Advantage subsidies to insurance companies. Raise the FICA max cap to probably ten times what it is today, and reduce military spending.

What's the likelihood of Boehnor or McConnell supporting any of those provisions?

Bunch of hypocritical liars.

We have to get these people out of power.

Posted by: onifadee | February 1, 2010 10:06 PM | Report abuse

It becomes increasingly clear that, as far as the Presidency is concerned, the Job makes the Man, rather than the Man making the Job. We should have known that besides the current POTUS lacking in experience, the capabilitie needed to get his arms around his "job description," and, yes, even the Heart to do the would overwhem him.Unfortunately, we will all have to float around on this rudderless Ship of State for another 3 years.

Posted by: connyankee1 | February 2, 2010 12:42 PM | Report abuse

Please, please, can we knock off the "George Bush" idiotic comments? Obama is President.....he ought to start acting like one. Writers have scripted tales of his apparent arrogance, but he unfortunately won the election.....get on with it, Mr. POTUS and stop acting like a frustrated politician.......

Posted by: connyankee1 | February 2, 2010 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Please, please, can we knock off the "George Bush" idiotic comments? Obama is President.....he ought to start acting like one. Writers have scripted tales of his apparent arrogance, but he unfortunately won the election.....get on with it, Mr. POTUS and stop acting like a frustrated politician.......

Posted by: connyankee1 | February 2, 2010 12:48 PM | Report abuse

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