Jacob Lew's no good, horrible day
OMB director Jacob Lew was grilled first by the House Budget Committee and then by its Senate counterpart. On the House side, Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) let him have it. In his opening remarks, Ryan made clear how far off base is Obama's proposal:
Instead of confronting our debt head on, the President has presented us with a budget that spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much. His budget would double the amount of debt held by the public by the end of his term - and triple it by the tenth anniversary of his inauguration.
To be sure, our country was already on an unsustainable trajectory before he took office. Our debt is the product of acts by many presidents and many Congresses over many years. Both parties share the blame.
Nevertheless, this President's policies have accelerated us down this disastrous path. He has made our spending problems worse with policies such as the failed stimulus and the new health care entitlement.
He has argued for massive tax increases that would stifle economic growth and make our fiscal picture worse -- this budget alone contains $1.6 trillion in higher taxes on American families, businesses and entrepreneurs.
And on our nation's most pressing fiscal challenges, the President has abdicated his leadership role. First, he punted to a bipartisan commission to develop solutions to the problem.
Then, when his own commission put forward a set of fundamental entitlement and tax reforms, he ignored them. 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."
He even failed to take the commission's advice on less sensitive subjects, such as discretionary spending: His budget would increase discretionary spending by $353 billion relative to the commission's proposals.
And it didn't get any easier thereafter for Lew
Later in the day, in a moment of high drama and remarkable clarity in the Senate, the top Republican, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), delivered this tongue-lashing to Lew:
The president may have underestimated the fortitude of his political opponents and the disgust many Americans feel about the failure of government to live -- even remotely -- within its means.
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