How will Democrats react?
By proposing a budget with a $1.6 trillion deficit that will add to the debt over the next ten years, the president has put his own party, not the Republicans, in a tight spot. Republicans can easily do better than the president's non-effort to straighten out our fiscal mess. But what about responsible Democrats? It would seem they must, if they are to retain their own credibility, blast the White House.
The Post reports that this is what one Democratic fiscal hawk is already doing. "Erskine Bowles, the Democratic chairman of the fiscal commission, said the White House budget request goes 'nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare.'" Sen. Kent Conrad (D- N.D.) was more diplomatic:
The deficit is projected to approach $1.5 trillion this year and will remain above $1 trillion in 2012 under Obama's new spending plan, Conrad said. In 2015, when Obama had hoped to get the deficit down to 3 percent of the economy, his new budget plan projects a deficit of 3.2 percent of gross domestic product, Conrad said.
Conrad, a key architect of the fiscal commission, said the president's budget is a "first bid" in a complicated budget dance with resurgent Republicans that could include a charged debate over raising the legal limit on government borrowing, or even a government shutdown.
"I'm increasingly of the view that it's going to take Congress, Republican and Democrats, starting in the Senate maybe, demonstrating that there is a way to reach an agreement and for the president to, in effect, serve as a referee," Conrad said. "If we were to demonstrate we really could do something, I think it would bring the White House to the table - and, hopefully, the House."
To put it simply, if the 21 Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2012 (Conrad and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) are retiring) want to retain their jobs, they are going to have to make clear that Obama's budget is a non-starter and that they, unlike the leader of their party, intend to work on serious debt reduction.
| February 14, 2011; 10:05 AM ET
Save & Share: Previous: Obama proposes massive increase in the national debt
Next: Will Obama now reverse course on Iran?
Posted by: ohioan | February 14, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | February 14, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | February 14, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 14, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: bbarr01 | February 14, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: nvjma | February 14, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse
Posted by: eoniii | February 14, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse