Democratic Rep. Chris Van Hollen says the GOP’s call for deep, immediate spending cuts is “reckless,” and – with respect to the proposed 2012 budget not cutting entitlement programs – Republicans “beat the hell out of us” when the president called for
Medicare reform as part of Obamacare.
“What the president has said he will not do is take the more reckless approach we’re seeing right now on the floor of the House, where you have deep, immediate cuts – which, by the way, the president’s bipartisan commission on deficit reduction recommended against in the very short term, because it would hurt the economy and hurt jobs,” Van Hollen said Wednesday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
Joe Scarborough noted President Barack Obama’s 2012 budget focuses on discretionary spending and less on other budget cuts, such as trimming entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.
“The president has talked about closing a lot of the special interest tax loopholes for oil and tax companies. In this budget, he proposes the very beginning of some kind of tax reform, by capping some deductions,” said Van Hollen, D-Md. “With respect to other programs: First of all, as part of healthcare reform, we began to make some decisions in reforming Medicare. You know what happened to us? The Republicans beat the hell out of us for some of the reforms we made to Medicare.”
Scarborough said Obama passed on an opportunity “to tax the very rich and now we’re talking about serious cuts that need to be made.”
Van Hollen countered that in the president’s 2012 budget, “he says that after the current tax package expires … he’s no longer going to provide tax breaks to the folks at the very top.”
“He didn’t want to do it as part of this tax package. He was forced into it as part of a compromise,” he said. “But he made it very clear: We cannot afford to continue to provide tax breaks to the folks at the very top. Just like we shouldn’t be providing tax breaks to the oil companies.
“Let me make this point about Social Security. We need to make sure we preserve and strengthen it for the future,” he continued. “Social Security is not the big deficit driver and we’re not going to balance the budget on the backs of Social Security recipients.”
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