Senate GOP Fires Away at Obama Budget

Posted March 24, 2009 at 12:36pm

Senate Republicans continued to hammer at President Barack Obama’s budget proposal on Tuesday, even as the administration prepared for a key meeting between Obama and Senate Democrats scheduled for Wednesday afternoon.

Republicans have been keen to move away from the topic of executive compensation caps — which most of the party’s Members oppose — and back to the more familiar ground of spending limits, a point Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) tacitly acknowledged Tuesday morning.

“In all the uproar about bonuses, some people may have forgotten about the budget. But with a vote on this funding blueprint fast approaching, it’s time to refocus and to review where we are,— McConnell said in a floor speech in which he argued the Obama budget proposal would create an inappropriate expansion of the national debt.

“All this debt is real, and it will have very real and very disturbing consequences for our children and our grandchildren. Americans are worried about it,— McConnell argued.

McConnell and other Republicans are hoping to use floor speeches, press conferences and other public venues over the next several days to push moderate Democrats to oppose the administration’s plan in the upcoming debate.

The Republican effort to focus on the budget is also fueled by concerns that Democratic leaders will make good on their threat to use the budget reconciliation process — which is immune from the chamber’s normal filibuster rules — as a vehicle for passing their health care and climate change agenda.

While a number of moderate and conservative Democrats have already raised questions about that strategy, it is unclear whether Republicans could muster enough votes to defeat a budget bill loaded with other policy proposals.