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« Strategy Memo: Prime-Time Obama | Blog Home Page | Cruising Through Space »

House Republicans Readying Budget Alternative

Republicans on the House Budget Committee are preparing an alternative to President Obama's budget, while GOP leaders continue to paint the President's plan as an expensive, liberal agenda that will increase the national debt at an incomparable rate.

At a morning press conference, Republican leaders John Boehner (Ohio), Eric Cantor (Va.) and Mike Pence (Ind.) railed against the budget in advance of the President's prime-time news conference tonight.

"Our position is his budget is far outside of the mainstream," said Cantor.

"The president is proposing a gusher of new debt, new taxes and more spending," concurred Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), ranking member of the Budget Committee. "The president's budget is so far to the left that it's to the left of the Progressive Caucus budget that came to the floor last year that about 130 Democrats voted against. So we're seeing a strong lurch to the left."

"When you look at the debt numbers in this budget you'll see that over the next six years President Obama will create more debt than his 43 predecessors have in the last 220 years," said Boehner.

"The President's budget is the most fiscally irresponsible budget in the history of the United States," said Pence.

As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) did yesterday, Cantor noted that Obama's planned trip to Capitol Hill tomorrow was a sign that his plan was not favored by centrists in Congress or around the country. "We wouldn't have to see a campaign to try to convince moderate Democrats to support this budget if it was reflective of the mainstream of this country," Cantor said.

Boehner has planned a news conference this afternoon to talk about the President's prime-time event tonight, and Ryan will discuss the President's budget further at another press conference.

Meanwhile, Democrats are touting the priorities of the budget as a way forward in the tough economic climate. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) noted four specific priorities: reducing the deficit by half over the next five years; making a down payment on health care reform; investing in energy independence; and reforming and investing in education.

Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) spoke today about the health care, education and energy investments in the budget.

"Investing in education is one of the most certain ways to prepare a skilled and ready workforce and to strengthen our economy well into the future," said Murray, the Democratic Conference Secretary. "Now is not a time to sit back and criticize. Now is a time to be bold and make the critical investments in our country that are so overdue."

Hoyer also said that while Democratic leaders in the House "are all very concerned about the level of the deficit" Congress is facing in the near future, it was Republican policies that put the government in this position.

"I've been very very criticial over the last eight years of the policies that have been pursued by the previous administration which put us deeply into debt," Hoyer said. "We're going to be working on getting that budget deficit down, but it will not be done near-term because of the budget hole we were dealt and left and that was so deep."