By Molly K. Hooper - 03/23/13 10:00 AM EDT
A key Republican said on Saturday that his party has acted on its budget resolution, now President Obama needs to step up with his list of national priorities.
“Budgets are about setting priorities. Republicans realize that we have a moral obligation to spend your hard-earned tax dollars wisely. We should spend only what we need to cover the constitutionally authorized functions of government and not a dollar more. That’s why we support reforms to fix the programs Washington should be funding, to eliminate the programs it shouldn’t, and balance the budget,” Lee said.
Noting that Senate Democrats took up a budget plan – for the first time in four years, Lee pointed a finger at President Obama for failing to do so.
“The President has again failed to follow the law requiring him to submit his budget by the first Monday in February. In what clearly falls into the category of ‘a day late and a dollar short,’ he announced he wouldn’t submit his budget until the second week of April,” Lee said.
The Senate approved the Democratic budget plan early Saturday morning, following a long night of votes on dozens of amendments.
Utah’s junior senator criticized the Senate Democratic plan for increasing “taxes by one and a half trillion dollars, on top of the hundreds of billions they already added to your tax bills at the beginning of the year … They also have no plan to save our entitlement programs.”
Republicans have insisted on cutting spending to eliminate the $17 trillion deficit – including making major reforms to Medicare and Social Security, and repealing President Obama’s healthcare law.
The GOP opted to allow the $85 billion of across-the-board cuts this year – also known as the sequester – to go into place in March, instead of raising taxes to pay down the deficit.
Lee said that without a budget that accounted for those cuts in place, the administration has had to make seemingly irrational cuts including one to release several thousand illegal immigrants back onto the streets.
Instead of working with Congress “to identify and remove wasteful areas in the budget,” Lee accused President Obama of slashing “spending on important services, like border security, first responders, veterans and law enforcement.”
Again, Lee implored Democrats and Republicans to work together to “make the people’s priorities, our priorities. … This budget debate isn’t about dollars – it’s about common sense.”