By Bernie Becker - 02/15/11 05:36 PM EST
Inouye also signaled that the House legislation to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year, which as of now looks to trim $61 billion in spending, looked like more of a political stunt than sober governing.
“There is no doubt that we must find a way to reduce our deficit and put America back on the path to a balanced budget. Part of the solution will be to eliminate programs that are no longer necessary, and to improve the efficiency of those that are,” Inouye said in a Tuesday statement. “But many of the reductions proposed by the House were made not because programs were ineffective or wasteful, but out of desire to meet an arbitrary dollar figure cited during a political campaign.”
The House is set to have an open debate on its spending measure starting on Tuesday, with lawmakers already having filed hundreds of amendments.
House Republicans, in their Pledge to America during last year’s midterm election campaign, vowed to slash $100 billion in spending.
Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerClinton maps out first 100 days The Hill's 12:30 Report Boehner on Cruz: 'Lucifer is back' MORE (R-Ohio) and other top Republicans have asserted that they had seen through that promise because they cut $100 billion from President Obama’s budget requests for this fiscal year. But some more conservative members of the Republican conference have signaled that they want to cut $100 billion from current spending levels now.
In a recent interview, BoehnerJohn BoehnerClinton maps out first 100 days The Hill's 12:30 Report Boehner on Cruz: 'Lucifer is back' MORE indicated that this was just the start of his chamber’s push to slash spending and, amid Democratic criticism, asserted that it would be dangerous for the government to continue its current spending habits.
For his part, Inouye, now in his ninth term in the Senate, criticized the House spending plan after it was released on Friday as well. His Tuesday statement blasted a slew of the GOP’s proposed cuts, arguing they would hurt the government’s ability to battle terrorism, protect public safety and aid the poor and vulnerable.
He specifically mentioned, among other provisions, proposals to roll back spending on first responder grants, cuts to USAID’s operations, and cuts to programs for high-speed rail and to help homeless veterans.
“Today’s America exists in a world that is both dangerous and competitive,” Inouye said in his statement. “If our nation is to maintain its unique status on the global stage, we must ensure that our security is protected both at home and abroad, that we out-innovate our competitors, that we preserve our nation for posterity by investing in both its infrastructure and people, and that we promote its welfare by helping those in need, particularly during these difficult economic times.”
Inouye did respond more positively to the budget plan for the 2012 fiscal year that the White House released Monday, saying it balanced the need for deficit reduction and innovation.