Debt panel co-chairman Hensarling criticizes Obama plan to pay for jobs proposal

The Republican co-chairman of the congressional supercommittee on deficit reduction sharply criticized President Obama’s call for the panel to find additional budget savings to pay for his $447 billion jobs plan.

“By asking the Joint Select Committee to increase the $1.5 trillion target to cover the full cost of his plan, the president is essentially tasking a committee designed to reduce the deficit to pay for yet another round of stimulus,” Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said in a news release after the president’s Thursday night speech to a joint session of Congress.


The 12-member committee is tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over 10 years as part of an agreement to lift the federal debt ceiling. Obama on Thursday urged the panel “to increase that amount so that it covers the full cost of the American Jobs Act,” the proposal he introduced during his speech.

“Deficit reduction is part of job creation,” Hensarling said. “This proposal would make the already-arduous challenge of finding bipartisan agreement on deficit reduction nearly impossible, removing our options for deficit reduction for a plan that won’t reduce the deficit by one penny. It’s not the role of this committee to spend more money we don’t have on jobs we don’t get.”

Democrats have pushed for the committee to consider job-creating measures. One Democratic member, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), signaled he was open to the president’s idea and said Obama had given the panel “a lot of food for thought.”