Sessions says Reid dodging budget debate to avoid tough votes

Senate Budget Committee Ranking Member Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on Sunday afternoon accused Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) of avoiding debate on a Senate budget resolution in order to protect Democrats from making tough choices on how to trim spending at a time of fiscal crisis.

"When Senator Reid said it's foolish to bring up a budget, what he really is doing is avoiding having his members have to confront — and in public, not in secret meetings, but in public, with votes — the real issues that threaten America," Sessions said on Fox News. "It's tough. I gotta tell you, it's not going to be easy."

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Sessions noted that for the third year in a row, Senate Democrats have decided to skip work on an annual budget resolution, which under law the Senate must pass by April 15. 

But he added that it's not just Senate Democrats avoiding the problem, saying that President Obama has also signaled indifference to the growing federal debt by submitting a budget proposal that would more than double the debt each American owes to put the government back in the black.

Sessions noted that, today, the price of retiring the debt is $34,000 for each American. "And under the President's budget that he just submitted a few weeks ago, it would go to $75,000 per person over 10 years.

"So this is unsustainable, as every expert has told us," he added. "You would think that a party that wants to lead the Senate would produce a budget."

Sessions also rejected Democratic arguments that a budget resolution is not needed because discretionary spending levels were set in last year's Budget Control Act. He said that while those spending levels were an improvement, they still put the government on an unsustainable path, and said Obama has explicitly rejected those numbers anyway.

"President Obama's budget that he submitted five months later wipes out those cuts, the $1.1 trillion in cuts through the sequester, he would totally eliminate those cuts," he said. "The bill that he signed that put us slightly improved but not enough, he now wants to undermine that."

The 2010 healthcare law also has the potential to significantly add to the deficit even beyond current projections. Sessions first pointed out new estimates that say the law will cost $2.6 trillion over 10 years, nearly triple what the Obama administration promised.

But he also warned that if more people leave their struggling company plans than expected, it could create a further drain on public resources as the government looks to provide them with health benefits through government plans.

"The danger is, nobody knows," he said. "Literally, multiple times as many people could lose healthcare from their business, go into these pools, and hammer the Treasury of the United States with huge unexpected costs. That is a very real possibility, in fact, I think there will be quite a few more people going into it than have been originally projected."