Jeff Sessions

White House Budget Director Refuses to Answer Whether Obama’s Proposal Ignores the Law

 Sylvia Burwell

President Barack Obama appears to have ignored the Democrats’ decision to pass on pushing through a budget and decided to make a move on his own.

Obama’s recently unveiled $3.9 trillion budget would raise more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years and increase spending $56 billion above statutory caps in the next year alone, which means that the President did not consider the spending caps both the White House and Congress agreed to last year before he decided to unveil his plan.

During a Budget Committee hearing yesterday, Sylvia Burwell, Obama’s White House Budget Director, seemed to struggle to answer Sen. Jeff Sessions’ (R-AL) question regarding the president’s budget proposal. While Obama’s plan would increase spending, Burnwell refused to answer Sessions when asked whether the budget would allow more spending than what had been already agreed to previously when the President signed the Ryan-Murray budget.

According to the Budget Director, “there are some questions that are not simply Yes or No questions.” Her justification and defense of the new budget proposal ignores the budget already signed by the president. When asked if she wanted Congress to change the Ryan-Murray budget so that the increased spending proposed by Obama would then become a possibility, Burnwell also struggled to respond.

GAO: ObamaCare could add $6.2 trillion to national debt

There is some more bad news for ObamaCare. According to a recently released report from the Government Accounting Office (GAO), the Patient Protect and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) — President Obama’s signature domestic policy achievement — could cost taxpayers dearly in the long-term if cost-savings measures don’t work as intended.

The report, which was requested by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who is the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, explains that the “effect of PPACA on the long-term fiscal outlook depends largely on whether elements designed to control cost growth are sustained.”

“Overall, there was notable improvement in the longer-term outlook after the enactment of PPACA under our Fall 2010 Baseline Extended simulation, which, consistent with federal law at the time the simulation was run, assumed the full implementation and effectiveness of the costcontainment provisions over the entire 75-year simulation period,” noted the GAO. “In contrast, the long-term outlook in the Fall 2010 Alternative simulation worsened slightly compared to our January 2010 simulation. This is largely due to the fact that cost-containment mechanisms specified in PPACA are assumed to phase out over time while the additional costs associated with expanding federal health care coverage remain.”

The baseline scenario is used by the government budget officials to determine the the cost effects of current law. However, the alternative scenario gauges budget implications based on past behavior of Congress, such as its proclivity for bypassing scheduled Medicare payments to doctors (also known as the “doc fix”).

Senate Republicans should oppose Jack Lew

Jack Lew

At the end of last week, President Barack Obama nominated Jack Lew, who currently serves as White House Chief of State, to replace Timothy Geithner as the next Treasury Secretary. While he may eventually win confirmation, the White House and Lew may have a fight on their hands in the Senate:

Republicans say Jack Lew will have to answer for what they view as the president’s bare-knuckle tactics when Lew undergoes the Senate confirmation process for Treasury secretary. 
[…]
Republicans are frustrated that Obama has not put forth what they would consider a credible plan to reform entitlement programs. And they were angered when after the election he traveled to Pennsylvania and Virginia for campaign-style events to pressure Republicans to extend the middle-class tax cuts.

Senate GOP aides say Lew will be called to account for the White House’s tactics when he comes before the Senate Finance Committee.

“He’s coming to the Senate from the chief of staff’s role in the White House and this White House just points the finger at everyone else. It refuses to take the blame for the bad things that are happening. This is a White House that is overly political and not really interested in alternate points of view,” said a senior Senate GOP aide.

“He’s going to be facing a lot of questions related to his involvement in the White House. He’s the top dog over there. He’s responsible for the direction,” the aide said. “It’s a shame the president would send along such a divisive figure.”

Harry Reid is the worst: Senate Democratic leader has all but weeded Republicans out of the legislative process

The toxic, hyperpartisan atmosphere in the United States Senate is the result of the grip Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has on the process in the upper chamber, says Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL).

The ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee blasted Reid for not allowing Republicans to offer amendments to legislation from the from the floor, which, Sessions said, is a partisan move by the Democratic leader to try to protect his at-risk majority in the upcoming mid-term election.

“The reason the Majority Leader will not allow amendments is because he wants to protect his members from actually being held accountable by the voters of the United States of America,” Session said on Thursday. “

That’s what it’s all about. It’s gone on way too long,” he continued. “It’s demeaning this Senate, and he demeans the loyal opposition who are doing the only thing they have as a tool, which is refuse to move forward with a bill if the Majority Leader is going to use parliamentary maneuvers to block anybody’s amendment.”

Obama’s Budget Director Doesn’t Know How Much Debt is in the Budget

Jeff Zients

Jeff Zients, who serves as Presidebt Obama’s budget director, apparently doesn’t know how much debt is in the budget the White House just sent to Congress.

During an appearance before the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) asked Zients about the $7.1 trillion in increased debt in President Obama’s budget proposal ($5.7 of that is new public debt, excluding governmental transfers). Zients tried to shift the narrative, but Sessions pressed him on the numbers. Zients replied, “I don’t…I need to check the numbers.”

“You don’t know your numbers?” retorted Sessions, to which Zients responded, “There are a lot of numbers there.”

Sessions’ office notes that the national debt will climb to $25.3 trillion over the next 10 years — $19 trillion (or 73% of gross domestic product) of that is debt held by the public. In other words, the You can see those numbers below (click to enlarge into a PDF):

Obama Budget -- Debt

Jack Lew’s History Of False Statements

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Panetta calls for tax hikes, not defense spending cuts

As you know, Republicans in both chambers of Congress are beside themselves over the prospect of defense spending cuts. They’re trying to scare Americans into believing that we’ll be somehow vulnerable if any defense spending is cut by any amount. However, Veronique de Rugy notes that, in the grand scheme of the budget outlook, these cuts amount to next to nothing — roughly $54 billion annually.

So yesterday, I received an e-mail blast from Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee pointing to SecDef Leon Panetta’s agreement with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who had stated that the national debt “threaten[s] our national security”:

That’s all well and good, but Secretary Panetta’s solution isn’t just to cut spending in other areas. He much like President Obama, wants tax hikes.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday stepped back into the bitter debate over the nation’s debt, arguing that lawmakers should close the budget deficit through tax increases and changes to popular programs like Social Security rather than through additional cuts in Pentagon spending.

Geithner won’t say whether or not Obama’s budget increases spending

During a hearing before the Senate Budget Committee, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner was asked by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) whether or not the budget submitted by President Barack Obama — you can see the budget by the numbers here — spent less than or at levels agreed to between the White House and the Congress in August.

As you can see in the video below, Secretary Geithner never really answers the question. What he did give was a long, drawn out “no”:

Sen. Sessions to Democrats: No Budget? No Vacation

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Republicans ready for fight on spending cuts?

With spending expected to be one of the themes in President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, Republicans are already gearing up for the debate by hitting the president on his fiscal profligacy:

Republican leaders over the weekend previewed their arguments against the spending proposals President Obama plans to outline in his State of the Union address tomorrow, warning, as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell did, not to hide spending proposals under the guise of “investments”

“With all due respect to our Democratic friends, any time they want to spend, they call it investment, so I think you will hear the president talk about investing a lot Tuesday night,” McConnell, R-Ky., said on Fox News Sunday.

“We’ve got a huge spending problem here,” he added. “We’ve had over $1 trillion annual deficit each of the last two years. … I mean, most of us think, and most American — of the American people think that we need to do something about this and start doing it now.

McConnell and his Republican colleagues were trying to get ahead of the president’s remarks tomorrow night in which he plans to say that the U.S. must “out-innovate,” “out-compete” and “out-educate” other countries.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) took to the Washington Post to slam Obama on his spending, pointing out that the president is “unwilling to lead” on budget issues. However, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) are proposing a bill that would cut spending by $4 trillion.


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