A senior Republican launched a preemptive political strike Saturday against the budget plan that Senate Democrats will offer next week, alleging it won’t address the national debt or help workers.
He said that debt is slowing the economy and depressing wages, and that balancing the budget and ending the deficit – which Sessions calls “the great challenge of our time” – can be achieved by holding annual spending growth to 3.4 percent annually.
“But I fear the Democrat proposal will fail this defining test and will never achieve balance. I fear it will crush American workers and our economy with trillions in new taxes, spending and debt,” Sessions said.
“I fear Chairman Murray will follow the President’s lead: raising taxes to enrich the bureaucracy at the expense of the people,” he said, referring to Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayWarren burns Mnuchin over failure to disclose assets Warren: GOP ‘ignored’ ethical requirements for Cabinet picks Overnight Healthcare: Takeaways from Price's hearing | Trump scrambles GOP health plans MORE (D-Wash.).
The blueprint to be unveiled Wednesday is the first formal budget plan that Senate Democrats have tried to move through the chamber in several years.
Sessions's remarks are part of intense political positioning on fiscal policy by both parties at a time when Republicans are resisting White House calls for new tax revenues to be included in any deal on spending and entitlements.
The coming week will offer contrasting visions on Capitol Hill because House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanGOP waiting to hear from Trump on ObamaCare Five takeaways from Trump's inauguration Hispanic Caucus members slam Trump after inaugural address MORE (R-Wis.), who was the GOP’s vice presidential candidate, will unveil the House Republicans’ budget plan.
“Government has never been bigger or more out of control. They say there is no problem with waste, fraud, and abuse; they say the problem is you; they say you are not sending them enough money; they say they have wisely spent every penny. So, you must just send them more. And, if you don’t? Well, they won’t stop spending, they’ll just borrow more,” Sessions said.
“These destructive policies cannot continue. We are at the breaking point,” he said.
Sessions said Republican plans will create jobs and boost pay without adding to the debt.
His address touts an array of plans such as ensuring welfare offices become “employment and job training” offices; making more areas available for oil-and-gas drilling; ending “burdensome” regulations; enforcing an immigration policy that “protects legal U.S. workers from unlawful competition,” and several others.
Sessions devotes much of the speech to alleging that Democratic policies are failing the poor and that federal anti-poverty programs are ineffective, alleging that “Compassion demands that we change.”
“President Obama speaks of his deep concern for struggling Americans, yet his plans are focused on growing government – not the economy. He has no effective plan to create better jobs, more hiring or rising wages."
The comments arrive amid a larger effort by Republicans, following their failed 2012 White House campaign and loss of seats in Congress, to make the case that their policies as helpful to struggling workers.
Republicans plan to move legislation through the House next week called the “Supporting Knowledge and Investing in Lifelong Skills (SKILLS) Act,” which would streamline and reorient nearly three-dozen federal job training programs in a way that supporters say will better connect workers to job openings.