Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.), one of President Obama’s strongest allies in the Senate, said his proposal to freeze annual domestic spending for the next five years does not go far enough.
Obama touted his proposal for saving more than $400 billion over the next decade, bringing federal discretionary spending to its lowest share of the national economy since the Eisenhower administration.
McCaskill, however, said Congress should adopt the spending caps she proposed with Sen. Jeff Sessions (Ala.), ranking Republican on the Budget Committee.
She said the Sessions-McCaskill spending levels would be lower than those proposed Tuesday by Obama and would also rein in military spending.
“I would prefer to see the Sessions-McCaskill first, transitioning over to a glide path on a percentage of our GDP or our nation’s productivity in terms of a cap on the amount of federal spending,” McCaskill said.
“I don’t think he’s gone far enough to put [a cap] on discretionary defense spending,” she added. “The thing about Sessions-McCaskill it puts a cap on both domestic and defense.”
McCaskill has distanced herself from Obama as she faces a difficult re-election in 2012.
Earlier this month McCaskill declared that she was willing to consider scrapping the individual health insurance mandate, a centerpiece of the healthcare reform law Congress passed last year.
“There’s other ways we can get people into the pool — I hope — other than a mandate, and we need to look at that,” McCaskill said during an interview on MSNBC three weeks ago.
Obama still has affection for McCaskill, who endorsed him early in the 2008 Democratic presidential primary.
He embraced her Tuesday night as he walked down the center aisle of the House chamber to the dais to deliver his address.