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Early GOP Reviews on Obama Spending Freeze: Not Nearly Enough

The President’s call for a five-year across-the-board freeze in non-defense discretionary spending–something his top advisors spelled out at the White House earlier today–got less-than-stellar reviews from some House Republicans, even before he completed his State of the Union address tonight.

Rumors that the President would call for such a freeze were rampant on Capitol Hill this afternoon.  At a briefing at the White House, top economic advisor Gene Sperling explained the proposed freeze, which would apply to all discretionary spending not related to national defense except for Homeland Security and veterans’ benefits.

But the Republicans who spoke to HUMAN EVENTS as they went into the House chamber for the annual address by the President made it clear they were not impressed.  As with critical comments on the Obama agenda for 2011, the toughest words came from the ranks of the 85 Republican freshman elected in November.

“It affects so little in the budget in terms of major spending,” Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) told us, “I have to say that when you only freeze and don’t major cuts, you don’t really make a dent in the deficit at all.”

The holder of a Master’s degree in Business Administration and former treasurer of Maricopa County, Schweikert pointed out that non-defense discretionary spending now comes to less than 15% of overall government spending and that the percentage is smaller once veterans’ benefits and Homeland Security is off the table.

Fellow freshman lawmaker Pat Meehan (R.-Penn.) pointed to the package he and his GOP colleagues unveiled earlier in the week as the starting point for discussions about reducing spending.

“We’re spelling out more than $100 billion in cuts this year,” Meehan told HUMAN EVENTS, contrasting the immediacy Republican package with the projection of Obama advisor Sperling that the spending freeze would save more than $400 billion over a ten-year period, “We’re talking about cuts that are real.”

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John Gizzi has come to be known as â??the man who knows everyone in Washingtonâ? and, indeed, many of those who hold elected positions and in party leadership roles throughout the United States. With his daily access to the White House as a correspondent, Mr. Gizzi offers readers the inside scoop on whatâ??s going on in the nationâ??s capital. He is the author of a number of popular Human Events features, such as â??Gizzi on Politicsâ? and spotlights of key political races around the country. Gizzi also is the host of â??Gizziâ??s America,â? video interviews that appear on Gizzi got his start at Human Events in 1979 after graduating from Fairfield University in Connecticut and then working for the Travis County (Tex.) Tax Assessor. He has appeared on hundreds of radio and TV shows, including Fox News Channel, C-SPAN, America's Voice,The Jim Bohannon Show, Fox 5, WUSA 9, America's Radio News Network and is also a frequent contributor to the BBC -- and has appeared on France24 TV and German Radio. He is a past president of the Georgetown Kiwanis Club, past member of the St. Matthew's Cathedral's Parish Council, and secretary of the West End Friends of the Library. He is a recipient of the William A. Rusher Award for Journalistic Excellence and was named Journalist of the Year by the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2002. John Gizzi is also a credentialed correspondent at the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund. He has questioned two IMF managing directors, Dominique Strauss-Kahn and Christine LaGarde, and has become friends with international correspondents worldwide. Johnâ??s email is JGizzi@EaglePub.Com

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