By Peter Schroeder - 02/05/11 11:00 AM EST
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said Saturday that the government needs to stop its “spending binge” if it wants to boost the economic recovery, and took the president to task for his recent call for increased investment in certain areas.
Hensarling, who chairs the House Republican Conference, said high federal budget deficits, including the most recent estimate by the Congressional Budget Office of a $1.5 trillion deficit, are “unsustainable and unconscionable.”
Hensarling also made clear that Republicans are demanding big spending cuts in exchange for their support for raising the statutory debt limit. The Treasury Department has warned it will hit the $14.3 trillion limit sometime this spring, and after that the country could default on its debt, which administration officials have warned would be disastrous.
“Instead of working with us to cut spending…President Obama has asked Congress to yet again increase the debt limit,” he said. “Now, no one wants America to default on its debt. But…we need major spending cuts and major spending reforms.”
In his most recent State of the Union address, the president called for increased investment in infrastructure and education as a way to encourage American competitiveness on the global scene.
Hensarling dismissed the comments as a plea for more stimulus spending, which he called ineffective.
“Mr. President, how does spending us down the road to national bankruptcy help us ‘win the future’?” he said. “While I appreciate the president’s ‘can-do’ rhetoric, his job-destroying policies won’t do, and that’s what matters most to American families.”
Hensarling touted recent Republican efforts to rein in spending, saying the new GOP majority in the House “is listening to the people and taking a responsible approach to cutting spending and growing our economy.
He pointed to a House vote to repeal healthcare reform as a move that would reduce the deficit by $700 billion and cut spending by more than $2.6 trillion, and added that the House has introduced a continuing resolution that would cut $32 billion from current spending levels. The broad healthcare repeal effort failed in the Senate.
He promised more cuts will be on the way as Republicans look to boost the economy.
“There is no limit to the amount of spending that we’re going to be willing to cut,” he said. “Washington’s spending binge isn’t just hurting our workers, it’s threatening our children’s future as well.”