Sessions to Zients: If you are wrong, will you resign?
Capitol Hill Republicans were shocked at the Feb. 14 testimony by the White House budget chief, part of the White House misinformation campaign in favor of the president’s fiscal year 2013 budget released Monday.
Speaking before the Senate Budget Committee, Jeffrey D. Zients, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, refused to answer a direct yes-or-no question from the committee’s ranking member Sen. Jefferson B. Sessions III (R-Ala.): Does the president’s budget increase spending more than the 2011 Budget Control Act?
In a sputtering response, Zients tried to answer the question he wanted to be asked instead of the one he was asked.
What Sessions did not appreciate was that although the president’s budget eliminates the structure of the Budget Control Act, which reduced spending increases by $1.2 trillion over 10 years, Obama’s inclusion of higher taxes on the wealthy and strategic increases in spending was a more balanced approach, the budget director said.
The balanced approach meant that for every $2.50 in spending cuts, there would be $1 in new taxes, he said.
Sessions asked again: Yes or No? “We have a much more honest baseline… Our budget is a more honest budget… It’s a more accurate reflection of what we’re gonna spend… It’s actually going to spend less money” Zients said.
When the budget director finally seemed to say, in the context of his hedges, that spending would decrease, rather than increase in the president’s budget compared to current law, Sessions asked him, “If you are incorrect in saying that you do not increase spending compared to current law, would you consider resigning your office?”
Zients laughed, then replied, “Let me go back to the balanced approach.”
Frustrated, Sessions, who clearly had heard enough, went in for the kill.
“Mr. Zients, there is no spending cuts in this budget. This budget increases spending. Surely you know that?” he said.
“It increases taxes, so to say you cut $2.50 for every dollar in tax increase, is beyond the pale,” the senator said. “It does not alter the debt course of America, and I am disappointed that we can’t get an honest response to these difficult questions at this important time in our history.”
After the budget director’s testimony, Sessions said, “Mr. Zeints must remember—he works for the American people, not the Obama campaign. And the American people have a right to know the truth.”
“Americans hearing this would undoubtedly assume that the president is reducing spending below those levels currently set in place. Similar conclusions would be reached based on virtually every public description the White House team has offered of their budget plan,” he said.
“At today’s hearing on the president’s budget, we saw that the emperor has no clothes,” he said.
Speaking to HUMAN EVENTS, a Republican analyst with the Senate Budget Committee said the Obama budget proposal for fiscal year 2013 increases spending $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.
“Therefore, zero net spending cuts in this budget.” The analyst said he is startled at how dishonest the White House team has been in presenting its budget blueprint, which is the government’s 10-year roadmap.
“This administration is utterly unconcerned that we are heading toward a fiscal crisis,” he said. Key to the president’s calculus is the series of gimmicks they use to suggest that the Obama budget cuts spending and reduces spending by $4 trillion, he said.
“Our analysis, conducted by numerous professional analysts with decades of experience, concludes the real deficit reduction over 10 years, when the gimmicks are removed, is a paltry $273 billion, and the debt continues to grow by another $11 trillion, just as currently projected,” he said.
The first gimmick is the repeal of the $1.2 trillion-sequester that is current law and part of the 2011 Budget Control Act, but this is not scored as a spending increase, he said.
The budget also takes credit for the first rounds of spending cuts from the Budget Control Act, even though it is already the law, he said. There is also $850 billion in phony war savings, taken from wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as if they were both projected to continue for another decade, the analyst said.
“Then, throw in the unaccounted for $500 billion Medicare correction, called Doc Fix, $350 billion in new stimulus spending and a $1.9 trillion tax hike that primarily pays for new spending, not deficit reduction,” he said.
“Yet, the president makes his $4 trillion claim, to suggest to concerned Americans that they don’t have to worry, the president is addressing our fiscal problems,” he said.