Political Headlines February 27, 2013: Senate confirms Jack Lew as Treasury secretary with a 71-26 vote





Senate confirms Jack Lew as Treasury secretary

Source: WaPo, 2-27-13

The Senate confirmed Jacob Lew to be Treasury secretary, affirming President Barack Obama’s choice of a budget expert at a time when Congress and the White House are at odds over sharp government spending cuts….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 26, 2013: Senate Finance Committee Votes to Approve Jack Lew’s Treasury Secretary Nomination





Senate Finance Committee Votes to Approve Jack Lew’s Nomination

Source: ABC News Radio, 2-26-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Senate Finance Committee voted Tuesday to approve Jack Lew’s nomination for secretary of the Treasury.

The approval came with a 19-5 vote.  All the “no” votes came from Republican senators — John Cornyn of Texas, Mike Crapo of Idaho, Mike Enzi of Wyoming, Chuck Grassley of Iowa and Pat Roberts of Kansas….READ MORE

Political Headlines February 21, 2013: Bob Woodward: Obama’s sequester deal-changer





Obama’s sequester deal-changer

Source: Bob Woodward, WaPo, 2-23-13

Misunderstanding, misstatements and all the classic contortions of partisan message management surround the sequester, the term for the $85 billion in ugly and largely irrational federal spending cuts set by law to begin Friday.

What is the non-budget wonk to make of this? Who is responsible? What really happened?….READ MORE

Political Headlines January 25, 2013: President Barack Obama Names Denis McDonough His New Chief of Staff





Obama to Name Denis McDonough as His New Chief of Staff

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-25-13

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

President Obama on Friday will introduce Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough as his next chief of staff, according to a White House official.

McDonough will replace Jack Lew, who has been nominated to be Treasury Secretary.  If confirmed by the Senate, Lew will replace outgoing Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, the longest-serving member of Obama’s economic team….READ MORE

Full Text Obama Presidency January 10, 2013: President Barack Obama’s Speech Nominating Jack Lew as Secretary of the Treasury



Remarks by the President in Nomination of Secretary of the Treasury

Source: WH, 1-10-13 

East Room

1:40 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Good afternoon, everybody.  Please have a seat.  A little more than four years ago, I stood with Mr. Tim Geithner and announced him as my first nominee to my Cabinet.  We were barely two months into the financial crisis.  The stock market had cratered.  The housing market had cratered as well.  Bank after bank was on the verge of collapse.  And worst of all, more than 800,000 Americans would lose their jobs in just that month.  And the bottom was not yet in sight.

So I couldn’t blame Tim when he tried to tell me he wasn’t the right guy for the job.  (Laughter.)  But I knew that Tim’s extensive experience with economic policy made him eminently qualified, and I also knew that he could hit the ground running.  As Chairman of the New York Federal Reserve, he had just spent several sleepless and chaotic weeks immersed in the complexities of the crisis, and had been working closely with his Republican predecessor at Treasury to save the financial system.

Then, with the wreckage of our economy still smoldering and unstable, I asked Tim to help put it back together.  And thanks in large part to his steady hand, our economy has been growing again for the past three years, our businesses have created nearly 6 million new jobs.  The money that we spent to save the financial system has largely been paid back.  We’ve put in place rules to prevent that kind of financial meltdown from ever happening again.  An auto industry was saved.  We made sure taxpayers are not on the hook if the biggest firms fail again.  We’ve taken steps to help underwater homeowners come up for air, and open new markets to sell American goods overseas.  And we’ve begun to reduce our deficit through a balanced mix of spending cuts and reforms to a tax code that at the time that we both came in was too skewed in favor of the wealthy at the expense of middle-class Americans.

So when the history books are written, Tim Geithner is going to go down as one of our finest Secretaries of the Treasury.  (Applause.)

All right, don’t embarrass him.  (Laughter.)

On a personal note, Tim has been a wonderful friend and a dependable advisor throughout these last four years.  There’s an unofficial saying over at Treasury — “no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.”  That would be a good saying for all of Washington — (laughter) — “no peacocks, no jerks, no whiners.”  Few embody that ideal better than Tim Geithner.  That’s why, when Tim was thinking about leaving a couple of years ago — (laughter) — I had to personally get on my knees with Carole to help convince him to stay on a little bit longer.  And I could not be more grateful to Carole and the entire Geithner family for allowing him to make the sacrifices that so many of our Cabinet members ask of their families in serving the country.

The fact is, while a lot of work remains, especially to rebuild a strong middle class and offer working folks new pathways to rise into the middle class, our economy is better positioned for tomorrow than most of those other countries hit by the financial crisis.  The tough decisions Tim made and carried out deserve a lot of credit for that.  So I understand that Tim is ready for a break.  Obviously, we’re sad to see him go.  But I cannot think of a better person to continue Tim’s work at Treasury than Jack Lew.

This is bittersweet not only because Tim is leaving, but also because Jack has been my Chief of Staff for the last year.  He was my budget director before that.  I trust his judgment.  I value his friendship.  I know very few people with greater integrity than the man to my left.  And so I don’t want to see him go because it’s working out really well for me to have him here in the White House.  But my loss will be the nation’s gain.

Jack has the distinction of having worked — and succeeded — in some of the toughest jobs in Washington and the private sector.  As a congressional staffer in the 1980s, he helped negotiate the deal between President Reagan and Tip O’Neill to save Social Security.  Under President Clinton, he presided over three budget surpluses in a row.  So for all the talk out there about deficit reduction, making sure our books are balanced, this is the guy who did it — three times.  He helped oversee one of our nation’s finest universities and one of our largest investment banks.

In my administration, he has managed operations for the State Department and the budget for the entire executive branch.  And over the past year, I’ve sought Jack’s advice on virtually every decision that I’ve made, from economic policy to foreign policy.

One reason Jack has been so effective in this town is because he is a low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras.  And over the years, he’s built a reputation as a master of policy who can work with members of both parties and forge principled compromises.

And maybe most importantly, as the son of a Polish immigrant, a man of deep and devout faith, Jack knows that every number on a page, every dollar we budget, every decision we make has to be an expression of who we wish to be as a nation, our values.  The values that say everybody gets a fair shot at opportunity and says that we expect all of us to fulfill our individual obligations as citizens in return.  So Jack has my complete trust.  I know I’m not alone in that.

In the words of one former senator, “Having Lew on your team is the equivalent as a coach of having the luxury of putting somebody at almost any position and knowing he will do well.”  And I could not agree more.  So I hope the Senate will confirm him as quickly as possible.

I want to personally thank both of these men and their families, especially Carole and Ruth, for their extraordinary service to our country.

And with that, I’d like to invite them to say a few words, starting with Tim.

SECRETARY GEITHNER:  Mr. President, it’s been a privilege to serve you.  I’m honored and grateful that you asked me to do this, really I am.  And I’m very proud of what my colleagues at Treasury and your economic team was able to help you accomplish these first four years.

When you stepped into this building as President, you were confronted with a world in crisis, the worst crisis in generations.  And you made the necessary, the hard, the politically perilous choices that saved the American people, saved American industry, saved the global economy from a failing financial system.  And your successful response to the crisis of course did not solve all the nation’s challenges.  It could not have done so.  But the actions you took along with those of a forceful and creative Federal Reserve have made the country stronger and have put us in a much better position to face the many challenges still ahead of us — and they are many.

I have the greatest respect for Jack Lew.  I know him as a man of exceptional judgment, calm under pressure, with an extraordinary record of accomplishment and experience over decades spent at the center of American economic policy.  He’s committed to defending the safety net for the elderly and the poor.  He understands what it takes to create the conditions for stronger economic growth and broader economic opportunity.  And he understands that to govern responsibly is to govern with a recognition that we have limited fiscal resources.

Now, like Jack, I’ve spent my professional life in this world of public policy and public service.  And as all of you know, our families carry a large share of the burdens we assume in public life.  And I feel incredibly fortunate that my wife Carole and my family have been willing to allow me to do this.  And I thank them for their support and their patience.  And I understand their occasional impatience.  (Laughter.)

I want to express my admiration and my appreciation for the women and the men of the Treasury Department.  Those who came to serve you these years of crisis and the civil servants of the Treasury with whom I first started working in 1988, they are exceptionally talented and honorable public servants.  I’m very proud of what they have helped you accomplish.  And I am confident that my successor will find them the extraordinary asset they are to the nation.

And I also hope that Americans will look at the challenges we face today and decide, as many of you in this room have, that in spite of the divisive state of our political system today that serving your country is compelling and rewarding work.  That was my experience, and I am grateful and will always be grateful to you for having given me the opportunity to serve you as the 75th Secretary of the Treasury.  (Applause.)

MR. LEW:  Mr. President, it has been my honor to serve as your Chief of Staff and before that at OMB and the State Department.  It’s really been a privilege to come to work every day as part of a team that’s dedicated to building a sound economy and a safer world.

Tim, you have been a friend and a colleague for many years — actually, decades — and the American people are better off for your outstanding service.  And I thought I knew you pretty well, but it was only yesterday that I discovered that we both share a common challenge with penmanship.  (Laughter.)  Tim, I join the President and everyone here in wishing you and Carole and your whole family well.

As a kid growing up in Queens, I had dreams of making a difference in the world.  These dreams were nurtured in a home where the gifts of American freedom and opportunity were cherished and never taken for granted, and the responsibility to engage in issues of public concern were part of daily life.  I will always be grateful to my parents for grounding me in the values that have remained central to my personal and professional life.

I grew up professional in the office of Speaker O’Neill, whose compass was always clear and who demanded unvarnished advice on how best to reach the desired destination.  Mr. O’Neill cared little about your age or rank, and only about whether or not you did the hard work to inform the decisions of the day.  And he took a big chance giving a lot of responsibility to a very young man, and for that I’ll always be thankful.

Serving at OMB first under President Clinton and more recently in this administration, I worked with one of the finest teams in the government to execute a responsible fiscal policy while advancing policies to promote economic growth.  I’m delighted to see so many of my friends from OMB here today.

At the State Department, I worked closely with our great Secretary of State and my friend, Hillary Clinton, to advance our nation’s national security agenda, including our international economic policies.

And as Chief of Staff, I’ve had the pleasure of working with a tremendously talented White House team, which manages policy, politics, communications, and complex operations every day with grace, skill, and loyalty.

If confirmed, I look forward to joining the Treasury Department, whose people are legendary for their skill and knowledge.  It’s a team that I’ve collaborated with closely over many years and have come to respect greatly.

Finally, thank you to Ruth, Shoshi, Danny, Zahava, and the kids for your endless tolerance with the demands of a schedule that tests all family patience.  And thank you, Mr. President, for your trust, your confidence, and friendship.  Serving in your administration has allowed me to live out those values my parents instilled in me, and I look forward to continuing with the challenges ahead.  (Applause.)

THE PRESIDENT:  These are two outstanding public servants.  I think the only point that I want to make — leave you with is the fact that I had never noticed Jack’s signature — (laughter) — and when this was highlighted yesterday in the press, I considered rescinding — (laughter) — my offer to appoint him.  Jack assures me that he is going to work to make at least one letter legible — (laughter) — in order not to debase our currency should he be confirmed as Secretary of the Treasury.

Thank you very much, everybody.  (Applause.)

1:56 P.M. EST

Political Headlines January 10, 2013: President Barack Obama Nominates ‘Low-Key’ Jack Lew as Treasury Secretary





Obama Elevates ‘Low-Key’ Jack Lew to Treasury Post

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-10-13

The White House(WASHINGTON) — Facing a brewing fight over the debt ceiling and spending cuts, President Obama on Thursday tapped his chief of staff Jack Lew to be the next Treasury Secretary, elevating a close confidante and trusted adviser to leading economic voice for the administration’s second term.

At a midday news conference, Obama praised Lew, 57, as a “low-key guy who prefers to surround himself with policy experts rather than television cameras” and hailed his reputation as “a master of policy who can work with members of both parties and forge principled compromises.”…READ MORE

Political Headlines January 4, 2013: President Barack Obama Poised to Name New Defense, Treasury Secretaries





Obama Poised to Name New Defense, Treasury Chiefs

Source: ABC News Radio, 1-4-13

Alex Wong/Getty Images

With the “fiscal cliff” crisis behind him, President Obama is poised to name two new key players to his cabinet, with at least one announcement expected early next week….

Former Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel is a leading candidate to head the Department of Defense, while current chief of staff Jack Lew is the likely nominee for the top role at Treasury….READ MORE

White House Recap January 7-13, 2012: The Obama Presidency’s Weekly Recap — President Obama Plans Federal Department Reorganization, Insourcing Jobs Initiative & Announces New Chief of Staff



This week, the President visited the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, welcomed this year’s NBA Champs, addressed the EPA, announced a new Chief of Staff, and introduced the White House’s Insourcing Initiative.

West Wing Week

Weekly Wrap Up: Doing Business in America

Source: WH, 1-13-12

Download Video: mp4 (122.1MB)

BusinessUSA:  Friday morning, the President announced a new plan that will make it easier to do business in America. Currently a complex web of different federal departments provide access to resources and services for business. President Obama wants to cut through the bureaucratic mess and consolidate unnecessary departments. That’s why he’s asking Congress for the authority to merge six entities into a single department tasked with boosting American business and promoting competitiveness.

Creating Jobs: The President  hosted an event with top business leaders to discuss what the administration can do to help bring jobs back to the United States. The “Insourcing American Jobs” forum is a part of the President Obama’s larger plan to jumpstart the American economy and restore the economic security of the middle class.

Chief of Staff: The President announced that Chief of Staff Bill Daley will resign and return to Chicago. Replacing Daley will be Jack Lew – the current director of the Office of Management and Budget.  The President praised Daley’s service, saying that no one had been force to make more important decisions more quickly.

NBA Champs: On Monday, the President the Dallas Mavericks on their 2011 NBA championship. Headed into the NBA Finals, a lot of folks tried to write the Mavericks off, but Dallas won the series in six games, the President said, because they knew how to play smart: “[These] players got it done because they know how good teams win — not just by jumping higher or running faster, but by finding the open man, working together, staying mentally tough, being supportive of each other, playing smarter.” While at the White House, the players also met with some wounded warriors – something they also take the time to do back in Dallas.

Full Text January 9, 2012: President Barack Obama’s Speech Announcing Jack Lew Will Replace Bill Daley as Chief of Staff



Jack Lew Will Replace Bill Daley as Chief of Staff

Source: WH, 1-9-12
Read the Transcript  |  Download Video: mp4 (51MB) | mp3 (5MB)

Just after 3:00, President Obama made an announcement from State Dining Room:

Last week, my Chief of Staff, Bill Daley, informed me that after spending time reflecting with his family over the holidays, he decided it was time to leave Washington and return to our beloved hometown of Chicago.

The President praised Daley’s service, saying that no one had been forced to make more important decisions more quickly than the former Secretary of Commerce:

Over the last year, he’s been intimately involved in every decision surrounding the end of the war in Iraq and our support of the people of Libya as they fought for their freedom. He was instrumental in developing the American Jobs Act and making sure taxes didn’t go up on middle-class families. He helped us reach an agreement to reduce the deficit by over $2 trillion. And he played a central role in passing historic trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama.

To fill Daley’s shoes, the President will turn to Jack Lew — the Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
President Obama announces a change in chief of staff (20120109)

President Barack Obama announces the resignation of his Chief of Staff Bill Daley and the appointment of Jack Lew to replace him, in the State Dining Room of the White House, Jan. 9, 2012. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)


Remarks by the President on the Resignation of Chief of Staff Bill Daley

State Dining Room

3:02 P.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT: Hello, everybody. Hope you all had a good weekend.

Last week, my Chief of Staff, Bill Daley, informed me that after spending time reflecting with his family over the holidays, he decided it was time to leave Washington and return to our beloved hometown of Chicago.

Obviously this was not easy news to hear. And I didn’t accept Bill’s decision right away. In fact, I asked him to take a couple of days to make sure that he was sure about this. But in the end, the pull of the hometown we both love — a city that’s been synonymous with the Daley family for generations — was too great. Bill told me that he wanted to spend more time with his family, especially his grandchildren, and he felt it was the right decision.

One of the things that made it easier was the extraordinary work that he has done for me during what has been an extraordinary year. Bill has been an outstanding Chief of Staff during one of the busiest and most consequential years of my administration.

We were thinking back, just a year ago this weekend, before he was even named for the job, Bill was in the Situation Room getting updates on the shooting in Tucson. On his very first day, Bill took part in a meeting where we discussed Osama bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad. This was all before he even had time to unpack his office.

Over the last year, he’s been intimately involved in every decision surrounding the end of the war in Iraq and our support of the people of Libya as they fought for their freedom. He was instrumental in developing the American Jobs Act and making sure taxes didn’t go up on middle-class families. He helped us reach an agreement to reduce the deficit by over $2 trillion. And he played a central role in passing historic trade agreements with South Korea, Colombia and Panama. Given his past record of service as Secretary of Commerce, he was invaluable in all these negotiations.

So no one in my administration has had to make more important decisions more quickly than Bill. And that’s why I think this decision was difficult for me. Naturally, when Bill told me his plans to go back to Chicago, I asked him who I thought could fill his shoes. He told me that there was one clear choice, and I believe he’s right. So today I’m pleased to announce that Jack Lew has agreed to serve as my next Chief of Staff.

Let me begin, first of all, by thanking Ruth for allowing Jack to serve in what I know is one of the most difficult jobs in Washington. But Jack has had one of the other most difficult jobs in Washington. For more than a year, Jack has served as the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. As anyone who’s been following the news lately can tell you, this is not an easy job.

During his first tour at OMB under President Clinton, Jack was the only budget director in history to preside over budget surpluses for three consecutive years. And over the last year, he has helped strengthen our economy and streamline the government at a time when we need to do everything we can to keep our recovery going.

Jack’s economic advice has been invaluable and he has my complete trust, both because of his mastery of the numbers, but because of the values behind those numbers. Ever since he began his career in public as a top aide to Speaker Tip O’Neill, Jack has fought for an America where hard work and responsibility pay off, a place where everybody gets a fair shot, everybody does their fair share, and everybody plays by the same rules. And that belief is reflected in every decision that Jack makes.

Jack also has my confidence on matters outside the borders. Before he served at OMB for me, Jack spent two years running the extremely complex and challenging budget and operations process for Secretary Clinton at the State Department, where his portfolio also included managing the civilian operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. And over the last year, he has weighed in on many of the major foreign policy decisions that we’ve made.

So there is no question that I’m going to deeply miss having Bill by my side here at the White House. But as he will soon find out, Chicago is only a phone call away and I’m going to be using that phone number quite a bit. I plan to continue to seek Bill’s advice and counsel on a whole range of issues in the months and years to come. And here in Washington, I have every confidence that Jack will make sure that we don’t miss a beat and continue to do everything we can to strengthen our economy and the middle class and keep the American people safe.

So I want to thank, once again, Bill for his extraordinary service, but also his extraordinary friendship and loyalty to me. It’s meant a lot. And I want to congratulate Jack on his new role. I know he is going to do an outstanding job, so thank you.

Thank you, everybody.

3:07 P.M. EST

February 15, 2011: President Obama Unveils Massive $3.7 Trillion 2012 Budget, Republicans Vow Cuts


By Bonnie K. Goodman

Ms. Goodman is the Editor of History Musings. She has a BA in History & Art History & a Masters in Library and Information Studies from McGill University, and has done graduate work in history at Concordia University.


Drew Angerer/The New York Times

President Obama spoke about the budget and education at Parkville Middle School and Center of Technology in Baltimore on Monday. He was flanked by Secretary of Education Arne Duncan at left and Jack Lew, director of the Office of Management and Budget, at right.



  • Obama’s Budget Focuses on Path to Rein in Deficit: With President Obama’s release on Monday of a budget for next year and House action this week on a Republican plan for immediate deep spending cuts, the nation is getting its clearest view since the president took office of the parties’ competing visions of the role of government, the urgency of addressing the deficit and the best path to long-term economic success.
    Mr. Obama used his budget for the fiscal year 2012 and beyond to make the case for selectively cutting spending while increasing resources in areas like education and clean energy initiatives that hold the potential for long-term payoffs in economic growth. With this year’s deficit projected to hit a record, $1.6 trillion, he laid out a path for bringing down annual deficits to more sustainable levels over the rest of the decade…. – NYT, 2-15-11
  • Obama budget: Some cuts, not the slashes GOP asks: Putting on the brakes after two years of big spending increases, President Barack Obama unveiled a $3.7 trillion budget plan Monday that would freeze or reduce some safety-net programs for the nation’s poor but turn aside Republican demands for more drastic cuts to shrink the government to where it was before he took office….. – AP, 2-15-11
  • Highlights of Obama’s 2012 spending plan: Obama sends plan to Capitol Hill; goal is to get funding in place by start of 2012 fiscal year… Plan includes a significant increase in education funding… Plan decreases discretionary resources for the Department of Transportation…. It trims funding for African Development and Inter-American Foundations by nearly 20%
    President Obama’s spending plan is just the first step in a process that will involve no less than 40 congressional committees, 24 subcommittees, countless hearings and a number of floor votes in the House and Senate, with the aim of getting funding in place for the federal government by the beginning of the 2012 fiscal year October 1.
    Congress never passed a budget for the current fiscal year, and the government has been running on a “continuing resolution,” which expires March 4. House Republicans have thrown down the gauntlet over cuts to current programs and threaten to shut down the government if they don’t get their way.
    After Obama sends his 2012 plan to Capitol Hill, House and Senate budget committees each pass their own budget resolutions, which set caps on spending and establish revenue targets and generally serve as five- to 10-year blueprints for congressional priorities…. – CNN,
  • Obama budget resurrects rejected tax increases: President Barack Obama’s budget proposal resurrects a series of tax increases on certain corporations and the wealthy that were largely ignored by Congress when Democrats controlled both chambers. Republicans, who now control the House, are signaling they will be even less receptive.
    The plan unveiled Monday includes tax increases for oil, gas and coal producers, investment managers and U.S.-based multinational corporations. The plan would allow Bush-era tax cuts to expire at the end of 2012 for individuals making more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000. Wealthy taxpayers would have their itemized deductions limited starting in 2012, including deductions for mortgage interest, charitable contributions and state and local taxes…. – AP, 2-14-11
  • Showtime for House Republican spending cuts: One day after President Barack Obama presented Congress with his $3.7 trillion budget, the focus shifts on Tuesday to Washington’s more immediate spending needs and a controversial spending-cut bill that Republicans hope to pass in the House of Representatives.
    The House legislation, cobbled together by Republicans after weeks of intraparty fighting, would cut about $61 billion from current spending in a bill to fund government activities through the rest of this fiscal year that ends on September 30.
    The spending being proposed would be equal to a 14 percent cut from last year…. – Reuters, 2-15-10
  • House Republicans counter Obama budget plan with much deeper cuts: On Monday, President Obama made his statement about how the government ought to change its spending habits: a gradual plan that minimizes immediate pain by phasing in cuts over a decade.
    Starting Tuesday, House Republicans will move forward with a very different approach, one intended to be viewed as radical and painful. Their proposal deals not with theoretical deficit targets set far in the future but with the final seven months of this year’s budget, a period left in flux by congressional inaction.
    House Republicans want to cut $61 billion from the budget, which would amount to the most significant government contraction since the end of World War II. Decried as “dire” and “disturbing” by Democrats, the plan has become a test for how far Republicans are willing to go in order to deliver on the promise of fiscal austerity that GOP candidates pledged to voters last year.
    “It’s big, and it’s real and it can impact people’s lives,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said Monday of the House legislation. “But we have a budget deficit right now of nearly $1.5 trillion. We have a lot of work to do.”… – WaPo, 2-15-11
  • Obama budget: $3.7 trillion FY ‘12 blueprint calls for key ‘investments’; red ink surges: Trying to balance the need to rein in deficits with his belief that spending now on education and other priorities will pay off in the long term, President Obama on Monday sent Congress a $3.7 trillion budget blueprint for 2012 that makes some short-term fixes but puts off heavy lifting on Social Security and Medicare.
    The budget acts as an update on the current fiscal year, as well as a plan for the future, and it shows the federal government will run a record $1.645 trillion deficit in 2011, slimming down to $1.101 trillion in 2012 and continuing the red ink for the foreseeable future, though at lower levels.
    After massive spending during his first two years in office, Mr. Obama proposed some tax increases and strategic spending cuts for 2012, such as in low-income energy assistance and student aid. But he also called for boosting spending on transportation and education – needs the president said cannot be sacrificed even in the face of the deficit…. – Washington Times, 2-14-11
  • Obama budget sets up spending fight Proposed cuts too small for GOP’s fiscal hawks: President Barack Obama sent Congress a $3.73 trillion 2012 budget that would boost spending in Michigan on items like education and energy, while cutting things like heating assistance for the poor and Great Lakes cleanup in an effort to bring the federal deficit under control. White House officials said Obama’s budget proposal for the fiscal year that begins in October would trim the federal deficit by $1.1 trillion over a decade, and produce about a $1.6 trillion budget hole for this year. The plan now goes to Congress, where it’s likely to encounter stiff opposition from Republicans who have said they want deeper cuts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who will fight for programs and tax breaks benefiting their districts… – The Detroit News, 2-15-11
  • Editorial: The Obama Budget: On paper, President Obama’s new $3.7 trillion budget is encouraging. It makes a number of tough choices to cut the deficit by a projected $1.1 trillion over 10 years, which is enough to prevent an uncontrolled explosion of debt in the next decade and, as a result, reduce the risk of a fiscal crisis.
    The questions are whether its tough choices are also wise choices and whether it stands a chance in a Congress in which Republicans, who now dominate the House, are obsessed with making indiscriminate short-term cuts in programs they never liked anyway. The Republican cuts would eviscerate vital government functions while not having any lasting impact on the deficit.
    What Mr. Obama’s budget is most definitely not is a blueprint for dealing with the real long-term problems that feed the budget deficit: rising health care costs, an aging population and a refusal by lawmakers to face the inescapable need to raise taxes at some point. Rather, it defers those critical issues, in hopes, we assume, that both the economy and the political environment will improve in the future…. – NYT, 2-15-11
  • President Obama’s budget kicks the hard choices further down the road: THE PRESIDENT PUNTED. Having been given the chance, the cover and the push by the fiscal commission he created to take bold steps to raise revenue and curb entitlement spending, President Obama, in his fiscal 2012 budget proposal, chose instead to duck. To duck, and to mask some of the ducking with the sort of budgetary gimmicks he once derided. “The fiscal realities we face require hard choices,” the president said in his budget message. “A decade of deficits, compounded by the effects of the recession and the steps we had to take to break it, as well as the chronic failure to confront difficult decisions, has put us on an unsustainable course.” His budget would keep the country on that course…. – WaPo, 2-15-11


  • The President Unveils a Budget to Win the Future for Our Kids: And I just came to Parkville on a day where we are unveiling our budget, and I’m doing so for a reason. But before I do that I just want to thank Principal Buddy Parker, who is showing us around, as well as Susan Yoder, the eighth grade science teacher who we just visited with in her classroom.
    Over the last few weeks I’ve traveled the country, talking about what we need to do to win the future; talked about the need to invest in innovation, so that the next big idea is discovered here in the United States of America. I’ve talked about the need to invest in high-speed rail and high-speed Internet, so that companies can move goods and information faster than ever. And this week, I’ll be talking about the need to invest in education -– in places like Parkville -– so that every American is equipped to compete with any worker, anywhere in the world.
    These investments are an essential part of the budget my administration is sending to Congress. Because I’m convinced that if we out-build and out-innovate and out-educate, as well as out-hustle the rest of the world, the jobs and industries of our time will take root here in the United States. Our people will prosper and our country will succeed.
    But I’m also convinced that the only way we can make these investments in our future is if our government starts living within its means, if we start taking responsibility for our deficits. That’s why, when I was sworn in as President, I pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of my first term. The budget I’m proposing today meets that pledge -– and puts us on a path to pay for what we spend by the middle of the decade. We do this in part by eliminating waste and cutting whatever spending we can do without.
    As I start — as a start, I’ve called for a freeze on annual domestic spending over the next five years. This freeze would cut the deficit by more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing this kind of spending — domestic discretionary spending — to its lowest share of our economy since Dwight Eisenhower was President. Let me repeat that. Because of our budget, this share of spending will be at its lowest level since Dwight Eisenhower was President. That level of spending is lower than it was under the last three administrations, and it will be lower than it was under Ronald Reagan.
    Now, some of the savings will come through less waste and more efficiency. To take just one example, by getting rid of 14,000 office buildings, lots and government-owned properties we no longer need, we can save taxpayers billions of dollars. And when it comes to programs we do need, we’re making them work better by demanding accountability. Instead of spending first, and asking questions later, we’re rewarding folks inside and outside government who deliver results. And to make sure that special interests aren’t larding up legislation with pet projects, I’ve pledged to veto any bill that contains earmarks.
    Still, even as we cut waste and inefficiency, this budget freeze will require some tough choices. It will mean cutting things that I care deeply about — for example, community action programs in low-income neighborhoods and towns, and community development block grants that so many of our cities and states rely on. But if we’re going to walk the walk when it comes to fiscal discipline, these kinds of cuts will be necessary…. – WH, 2-14-11TranscriptMp4Mp3
  • Jack Lew: The 2012 Budget: Today, the President sent to Congress his budget for the 2012 fiscal year. This document is built around the simple idea that we have to live within our means so we can invest in the future. Only by making tough choices to both cut spending and deficits and invest in what we need to win the future can we out-educate, out-build, and out-innovate the rest of the world.
    This is the seventh Budget that I have worked on at OMB, and it may be the most difficult. It includes more than $1 trillion in deficit reduction – two-thirds from spending cuts — and puts the nation on a path toward fiscal sustainability so that by the middle of the decade, the government will no longer be adding to our national debt as a share of the economy and will be paying for what it spends – and will be able to sustain that for many years afterwards.
    The President has called this budget a down payment because we will still have work to do to pay down the debt and address our long-term challenges. But it is a necessary and critical step for we cannot start to move toward balance and to cutting into the size of our debt until we first stop adding to it – and that is what this Budget does…. – WH, 2-14-11
  • Barack Obama: “The fiscal realities we face require hard choices. A decade of deficits, compounded by the effects of the recession and the steps we had to take to break it, as well as the chronic failure to confront difficult decisions, has put us on an unsustainable course.”
  • Barack Obama: “As we move to rein in our deficits, we must do so in a way that does not cut back on those investments that have the biggest impact on our economic growth, because the best antidote to a growing deficit is a growing economy. So even as we pursue cuts and savings in the months ahead, we must fund those investments that will help America win the race for the jobs and industries of the future – investments in education, innovation, and infrastructure.”
  • Eric Cantor: This week, the House will consider H.R. 1 – historic legislation that will reduce spending by at least $100 billion over the next seven months. This is the largest spending cut in modern history. These are not easy cuts, but we are finally doing what every American has to do both at home and at work – begin a path towards living within our means.
  • John Boehner: President Obama’s latest budget will destroy jobs by spending too much, borrowing too much, & taxing too much. The American people have made it clear they want Washington’s job-crushing spending binge to end. To help our economy get back to creating jobs, we need to liberate it from the shackles of Big Government and out-of-control spending. H.R. 1, on the House floor this week, will help do this.
  • Mitch McConnell: Senator McConnell comments on the President’s Budget: After two years of failed Stimulus programs and Democrats in Washington competing to outspend each other, we just can’t afford to do all the things the administration wants to do. The President has said he wants us to ‘Win the Future.’ But this budget abdicates the future. It simply spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.
  • Sarah Palin: The Truth Behind the White House’s Budget Spin: Today the White House finally produced its proposal for the 2012 budget. Beware of the left’s attempt to sell this as “getting tough on the deficit,” because as an analysis from Americans for Tax Reform shows, the White House’s plans are more about raising taxes and growing more government than reducing budget shortfalls.
    The fine print reveals a White House proposal to increase taxes by at least $1.5 trillion over the next decade. If you want to know how minuscule their proposed $775 million-a-year budget “cuts” really are, please look at this chart. The proposed cuts are so insignificant – less than 1/10 of 1% of this year’s $1.65 trillion budget deficit – that they are essentially invisible on the pie chart. That speaks volumes about today’s budget.
    UPDATE: As J.D. Foster of the Heritage Foundation points out: “…the President proposes a budget that keeps the federal government on a thoroughly irresponsible and unsustainable course.” Please read the Heritage Foundation article and understand the $775 million in proposed cuts noted above are what the White House’s budget director Jacob Lew identified as reflecting what they perceive as some “tough calls.” Yet, as noted, they are a drop in the bucket; and the White House’s total proposed cuts for this year are still not at all enough to make us solvent.


  • What the Budget Cuts Say About Obama: President Obama’s proposed budget would cut the deficit by $1.1 trillion in 10 years, with about two-thirds coming from spending cuts and one-third from added revenue. The House Republicans have called for much broader cuts of $2.5 trillion in 10 years.
    Both plans are primarily political statements, since neither is likely to be carried out without significant compromise. While the G.O.P. has long promoted itself as the party of fiscal conservatism, neither it nor the president makes cuts to costly entitlements like Medicare and Social Security.
    How is Mr. Obama positioning himself in the battle to define his party as fiscally responsible? His plan cuts programs that liberals support, like Pell grants, home-heating aid and environmental spending. What do these cuts say about his political strategy or approach?… –
  • Tevi Troy Senior Fellow, the Hudson Institute; Former Deputy HHS secretary Obama’s budget a deficit enabler?: It boggles the mind that the Obama administration would put forward a budget with a trillion dollar deficit that does not address the long-term fiscal morass facing our entitlement programs. Blaming the Republicans for not coming forward with more specific cuts first will not fly; in the strange Kabuki dance of the budget process, it is incumbent on the administration to release its own budget first. Republicans will have their own chance, in the form of the forthcoming battle over the annual Congressional Budget Resolution, to show where they stand on the issue. – Politico, 2-14-11
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