The U.S. government must spend its way out of the recession, the Democrats' third-ranking House leader stressed Monday.
Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), the House majority whip, said that trying to find greater savings in the budget, which was released by President Barack Obama this morning, wouldn't help alleviate the recession.
"We've got to make some decisions here as to what's in the best interests of our country going forward," Clyburn said during an appearance on Fox News. "And I think the best interest is to invest in education, control these deficits, while at the same time trying to get people back to work."
Obama's budget, which was unveiled Monday morning, calls for $3.8 trillion in spending for 2010, but is projected to cause a $1.27 deficit.
A number of key Democrats in Congress have responded to the proposal, including House Appropriations Committee Chairman David Obey (D-Wis.), who said lawmakers would seek to abide by spending freezes within the budget, but seek to extend caps to defense and national security spending, too.
Some other Democrats have worried that without expanded spending on social programs and other elements of the budget, some people hit hardest by the recession would be disadvantaged by the budget.
Clyburn suggested that talk of reducing the deficit was moot as long as the economy remained sluggish in the foreseeable future.
"You're not going to bring down the deficits, you're not going to eliminate these problems without growing this economy," he said. "And you're not going to grow the economy by wishing it; you've got to invest in it. And that's what we're doing with this budget."