Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee fiercely criticized President Biden’s $6.9 billion budget proposal during a March 15 hearing, charging that it would bring more taxes, more debt, less opportunity, and fewer resources for essential government services.
Biden’s proposed spending plan for fiscal year 2024, under scrutiny by the Senate Budget Committee, would cut the deficit by $3 trillion over the next ten years while also boosting government spending and raising taxes on corporations and the wealthy.
“President Biden is proposing levels of debt, deficits, and spending previously reserved for times of world war or recession,” said Ranking Member of the Committee Charles Grassley, Republican of Iowa, in his opening statement. “Unfortunately, his budget proposal continues to take our nation down a path of fiscal and economic ruin.”
Shalanda Young, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, defended the President’s budget before the Committee. Young said the President’s 2024 budget details a blueprint built around four key values: investing in America, lowering costs for families, protecting and strengthening Medicare and Social Security, and reducing the deficit. “The budget more than fully pays for its investments—cutting deficits by nearly $3 trillion over the next decade by asking the wealthy and corporations to begin paying their fair share and cutting wasteful spending to special interests,” she added.
Young often used facts and figures in an attempt to allay Republican’s concerns about the budget and its impact on the deficit, but her remarks had little impact. “I’m fearful that the White House is using the same kind of voodoo accounting that brought down the SVB (Silicon Valley Bank) bank,” said Senator Roger Marshall, Republican of Kansas.
Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott told Young that he thought she had an impossible job in defending the President’s budget. “If you look at what the President has done; the biggest budget in the history of this country, an unbelievable increase, massive inflation, massive deficits, and no plan to balance the budget.”
Sheldon Whitehouse, Democrat of Rhode Island, and Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee said balancing the budget in ten years was mathematically impossible.
“According to a letter Senator Wyden and I received yesterday from the Congressional Budget Office, the Republican promise to balance the budget in 10 years while extending the Trump tax giveaways and imposing draconian cuts to the programs that boost economic well-being is, in a word, impossible,” said Whitehouse. “Even if Republicans were to zero out everything but Social Security, Medicare, veterans’ services, and defense—that means eliminating 100% of the funding for public safety and border security, Medicaid, environmental protection, healthcare, treatment for opioid addiction, and so much more—they would still not be able to meet their own goal of balancing the budget.”
Grassley told Young that Republicans are “ready and willing to work with the President” to get a grip on Washington’s spending and debt. “But working together will require a shared acknowledgment of the serious fiscal problem we’re facing and a willingness to work across the aisle. And unfortunately, I don’t see any evidence of that in this budget,” he said.
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