Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R-VA) and Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA), Feb. 9, 2011.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor, (R-VA) and Republican Whip Kevin McCarthy, (R-CA), Feb. 9, 2011. Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP
Even as President Obama was saying he hoped for bipartisan talks to deal with the fiscal threats facing the nation from rising entitlement spending, House Republicans were ripping into him in a way that suggested how difficult it may be to achieve such discussions.
Continuing a string of criticism from the day before, House Republican leaders accused Obama of dithering and of actually deepening the nation's fiscal woes with too much spending and not enough cutting in his just released budget proposal for fiscal year 2012.
At a news conference at in the lobby of the Republican National Committee headquarters, House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio framed the opposition argument thusly:
SPEAKER BOEHNER: ... We saw the president's budget yesterday, and it's pretty clear that it spends too much, borrows too much and taxes too much.
But the most irritating part to me — actually there's two parts — is that this will continue to hurt job creation in America. We released a letter the other day, signed by 150 economists, that made clear that if we reduce spending, we'll create a better environment for job creation in America.
The other thing that is of concern to me about the president's budget is that when it comes to the real issues facing our country, he just punted. You know, the president has a responsibility to lead as well.
We're going to move today to cut $100 billion out of this year's spending that's left. You'll see us move to deal with other types of spending in the mandated spending area. And you'll see our Budget Committee begin to come to work to do their job to deal with the big issues that are facing our country.
I think this is a responsible way forward. We will exceed our pledge to America this week when we cut $100 billion worth of spending, and you'll see us continue to do the work the American people sent us here to do.
House Republicans aren't the only ones accusing the president of punting. The Washington Post, for instance, accused Obama of putting off the hard choices.
House Majority Leader Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia added this:
I'm told this is the second anniversary of the stimulus bill. And what better way for the president to celebrate that than to double down on the same failed policies in that nearly trillion-dollar bill.
The federal government is borrowing nearly 40 cents of every dollar that it spends. The president's budget as unveiled yesterday does not deal with that situation, and in fact makes it even worse.
And by making the spending and borrowing situation even worse, itmakes it tougher for us to see job creators get back into the game.
Compare that to what Republicans are doing. Republicans today —we're hitting the floor with a first big step towards trying to get our fiscal house in order by delivering on our commitment to cut more than $100 billion from the deficit this fiscal year.
We are also looking, when we come back, to try and address concerns that small-business owners have with the mandate on the "ObamaCare" bill of forcing business owners to issue 1099 forms to all vendors that they do business with in an amount of $600 or more.
These are the kinds of things that people are looking to to make a better environment for job creation. Where's Nancy Pelosi? Where is Harry Reid? They have failed to even begin to offer a coherent vision forward.
Republicans have consistently attacked the president for having "job-killing" economic policies.
A reporter noted, however, that the cuts House Republicans are demanding would very much kill jobs, those of hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
Boehner indicated he didn't mind killing some jobs:
REPORTER: Speaker Boehner, the CR cuts a lot of government programs. Inevitably, jobs will be lost, government jobs will be lost. Do you have any sort of estimate on how many jobs will be lost through this, and if there is — won't that add to unemployment — the cost of unemployment insurance?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: Over the last two years, since President Obama has taken office, the federal government has added 200,000 new federal jobs. And if some of those jobs are lost in this, so be it. We're broke. It's time for us to get serious about how we're spending the nation's money.
REPORTER: Do you have an estimate on how many will? And won't that impact, negatively impact the economy —
SPEAKER BOEHNER: I do not —
REPORTER: — an economy that's not ready to absorb this?
SPEAKER BOEHNER: I do — I do — I do not.