Vulnerable Democrats Steer Clear of Obama Budget

Wednesday, 15 Feb 2012 11:42 AM

By Dan Weil

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President Barack Obama’s 2013 budget proposal has alienated more than just Republicans: Vulnerable Democratic congressmen also are distancing themselves from the plan so that it does not hurt their re-election chances, The Hill reports.
 
Some of the Democrats are criticizing the proposal outright and some are just keeping silent about it. Sens. Jon Tester of Montana and Claire McCaskill of Missouri lit in to Obama’s blueprint for failing to sufficiently shrink the budget deficit. The plan forecasts a deficit of $901 billion for 2013, narrowing from $1.33 trillion this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.
 
“Unfortunately, this budget still includes unacceptable deficit levels, and I’m ready to work with Democrats and Republicans alike to tackle this problem,” McCaskill said.
 
Democrats say the senators’ stance reflects principle as much as politics.
 
“They live in states where people care very deeply about deficit reduction and spending,” a Democratic strategist told The Hill. “They elect Democrats like Claire and Tester because they’re fiscal watchdogs. It’s who they are.”
 
But Republicans say the distancing strategy will fail.
 
 “This issue once again highlights the fundamental problem facing Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill, and other Democrats running in conservative-leaning states,” National Republican Senatorial Committee spokesman Brian Walsh told The Hill. “They can try to run from him today, but come November, they’re going to be sharing the top of the ticket with him.”

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