Senate GOP demands new Obama budget after deficit speech

Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee are pushing President Obama to submit a revised fiscal 2012 budget by May 15, arguing the president’s recent speech on deficit reduction makes the previous one no longer applicable.

The request is another sign of the tensions between the parties, which appear to have increased since Obama went on the attack Wednesday against the House GOP's budget resolution.

In a letter to Obama, the 11 GOP members of the Budget panel said Obama’s Wednesday speech “represents an apparent shift from your FY 2012 budget” and that the address lacked the necessary details to help move the fiscal debate forward.  

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“The Budget and Accounting Act is clear — the President is not exempt from the requirement to submit a formal budget request and, in light of your April 13th speech, the budget we have in hand today does not comport with your public statements about Administration policy,” the senators added. 

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), the ranking member of the Budget Committee, has been indicating since Obama's Wednesday speech that he wanted a new budget, but this appears to be the first time that every Republican on the panel has joined with him.

In a Thursday USA Today op-ed, Sessions also criticized the president’s speech for being short on specifics, and contrasted that with the House GOP’s 2012 budget, which he called “the most serious effort to curb our debt that I have seen during my career.”

The president called for $4 trillion worth of deficit reduction over a dozen years on Wednesday, laying out what the White House termed his vision in that area. 

He also proposed that a group of 16 lawmakers, chosen by congressional leaders from both parties and overseen by Vice President Joe Biden, come together to discuss the country’s budget problems. 

When it was released in February, the Obama administration estimated that its fiscal 2012 budget proposal would have cut the deficit by $1.1 trillion over a decade. The Congressional Budget Office later estimated that the White House plan would do less to narrow deficits than the administration had said. 

Republicans — including Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the major force behind the House GOP budget proposal — have blasted the president for giving what they called a political address and for proposing again that the Bush tax cuts be allowed to expire for the wealthiest taxpayers. Ryan said Thursday that, with his speech, Obama had entered the “partisan mosh pit.”

For their part, Democrats have been highly critical of the Ryan budget, ripping its plan overhaul of Medicare and calling it a tax giveaway to the wealthiest. Ryan’s budget would cut $4.4 trillion from the deficit, when compared to the president’s 2012 budget request.


This post has clarified the section on the president's fiscal 2012 budget and the amount it reins in deficits.