House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Sunday accused President Obama and congressional Democrats of neglecting to address the nation’s deficit, instead playing a game of fiscal “Jenga.”
“It's the old Washington fiscal game of Jenga. You try to build as much debt as you can take, as much tax as you can take, until you topple the entire economy,” said McCarthy on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
“This week, Republicans will have a budget that balances in ten years; the Democrats' budget never balances. No household can run that way,” he said.
The House and Senate this week will vote on their competing budget plans. The House plan, crafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanRangel: Trump puts Ryan in tough spot Dems find voice with disruption Democrats plan 'day of action' to keep spotlight on guns MORE (R-Wis.), would cut spending by $5.7 trillion, while reducing the top tax rate to 25 percent. The proposal would balance in 10 years.
The Senate Democratic plan, from Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurraySenate Dems link court fight to Congressional Baseball Game Reid: House-passed Zika deal a 'disgrace' Bernie Sanders’s awkward return to the Senate MORE (D-Wash.) would raise $1 trillion in new taxes, and would not balance.
Obama last week, though, defended the Democratic approach and said he was less concerned with balancing the budget than he was with continuing economic growth.
In an interview with ABC, Obama said he would not “chase a balanced budget just for the sake of balance.”
"My goal is how do we grow the economy, put people back to work, and if we do that we are going to be bringing in more revenue," he said.
“The president has a different belief than we do. He believes deficits don't matter; we do,” said McCarthy on Sunday. “This president has never missed on a deadline turning in a March Madness bracket, but four out of five times he's missed turning in a budget.”
The top Democrat on the House Budget committee, Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), however said that while his party was concerned about the deficit, the current focus should be on job growth.
“Right now, our big problem is to sustain the economic recovery,” said Van Hollen. “We've seen momentum in the job market, and the last thing we want to do right now is to put the brakes on that.”
“What the president is saying is our focus right now should be to get people back to work, sustain the recovery, and then reduce the deficit in a measured, balanced way,” he added. “There's no doubt that we have to do it, and the budgets the president will present and the ones we will present will do that.”