Thursday, May 07, 2009

Voinovich on Obama Budget

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator George V. Voinovich (R-OH), the Senate’s top “debt hawk,” today released the following statement in reaction to President Obama’s Fiscal Year (FY) 2010 budget:

“President Obama has delivered a budget that unrealistically promises everything to everyone and masks the sacrifices Americans will be forced to make if it passes. While the President claims that $17 billion in cuts is significant, it masks the magnitude of the fiscal issues our Nation faces and is easily eclipsed by the interest we pay on our staggering $11.2 trillion national debt. CBO estimates that interest costs will be over $172 billion for FY 2010, or ten times the Obama administration’s proposed rescission.

“In addition, the president proposes massive amounts of new spending – $1.4 trillion in new discretionary spending compared to $17 billion in cuts, and $1.2 trillion in new entitlement spending. And, I would note that this spending is in addition to the $600 billion in new debt since President Obama took office – $17 billion is less than 3 percent of the debt created during this administration’s first 105 days.

“I am extremely disappointed – though not surprised – that President Obama is radically expanding the size of the federal government while failing to tackle entitlement and tax reform, something his Budget Director, Peter Orszag, assured me the administration was committed to.

“Budget experts universally believe that in order to get our astronomical deficits under control, we must fix federal entitlement programs such as Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. The head-in-the-sand mentality on behalf of the president and Congress needs to stop. It will be much easier to tackle these problems now, rather than waiting until later when there will be significant pain for Americans who depend on these programs. This is why yesterday, Sen. Lieberman and I introduced bi-partisan legislation, the Securing America’s Future Economy (SAFE) Commission Act, calling attention to the irresponsible and reckless fiscal path we find ourselves on as a nation. SAFE takes long-overdue action, establishing a national commission to examine our tax and entitlement systems and present long-term solutions to place the United States on a fiscally sustainable course. Put simply, SAFE will ensure the solvency of entitlement programs for future generations so that promises made are promises kept.

“Although I am pleased that President Obama is supporting issues important to Ohioans such as restoration and revitalization of the Great Lakes, water infrastructure and CDBG, I believe the only way we can create prosperity is through a government we can afford. I know it, the Obama Administration knows it, my colleagues in the Senate know it, and the American people know it. In fact, according to a poll done by Hart Research Associates and Public Opinion Strategies, next to the economy, people are most concerned with the course of our country’s fiscal path. The rest of the world is watching, and we face an economic train wreck if we continue to increase spending as Obama proposes while ignoring enormous entitlement programs and the complex tax code.”