Rep. Tom Cole, a member of the House Budget Committee, tells Newsmax that President Barack Obama’s $3 trillion budget proposal is nothing more than “smoke and mirrors” and doesn’t have a chance of making it through Congress.
“I think it’s dead on arrival,” declared Cole in an exclusive interview on Monday shortly after President Obama’s speech. “Frankly it doesn’t have much Democratic support. It will probably be a lot like the president’s budget last year where not a single Democratic senator chose to endorse it and it had no support in the House.”
The Oklahoma Republican says that Obama’s budget proposal won’t be taken seriously by GOP members if it fails to attract support from Democrats.
“That’s not a serious budget proposal when a chief executive can’t even get the members of his own party to vote for his budget,” Cole explained. “How can you expect the opposition to take it seriously?”
While the president insisted that his budget proposal reflects a number of “difficult cuts,” he failed to address meaningful reform to entitlements like Medicare and Medicaid, according to Cole.
Cole described the president’s apparent attempt to postpone such a discussion until after the general election as “disingenuous” and called for Obama to be up front with the American people.
“He’s going to try and run doing one thing when he knows circumstances, should he be re-elected, are going to force him to confront entitlements,” Cole maintained. “He ought to be honest and spell out his ideas on that to the American people in this budget just as Paul Ryan will be very honest and spell out the choices and the policy formulations of Republicans.”
Referring to the alternative budget proposal being prepared by Wisconsin Rep. Ryan, who chairs the House Budget Committee, Cole predicted that Ryan’s proposal will be comparable to the document he released last year which was approved by the Republican-controlled House but failed in the Democrat-controlled Senate.
“I’m sure it will be at least comparable this year. You know it’s too bad that we’ve got a 41-year-old representative from Wisconsin willing to lead — and frankly able to deliver — at least the House of Representatives behind his vision and we’ve got a president that isn’t willing to lead, and can’t deliver his own party in the Senate or even the House in any kind of numbers behind his proposals,” said Cole.
Cole agreed with the president that defense spending should be sheltered from sequestration — the automatic spending cuts triggered by the failure of a supercommittee formed to agree on spending cuts late last year.
“I’m all in favor of that but he doesn’t tell us how he’s going to do that. I think he thinks it’s just going to magically happen. It won’t,” said Cole. “I don’t think the president is very busy trying to reach out and find common ground. If he did, he would move in the entitlement area which is tough for both parties and where you would almost invariably have to move together to get anything done. He’s chosen not to do that.”
Cole said that much of the additional spending called for in Obama’s budget proposal does not have a chance of getting through Congress.
“This is a very typical tax-and-spend budget but untypically it unbalances the budget even further and the president knows this,” Cole said. “He’s certainly well informed enough, and his advisors are, to know at some point they’re going to have to deal with entitlement reform.”
Even if Congress stops the proposed spending increases and the Bush-era tax cuts are not renewed, the overall gain will be insufficient to solve the nation’s budget deficit, according to Cole.
“You have to deal with long-term entitlements. This president knows that. He’s chosen not to do it. It’s an abdication of leadership,” said Cole, who called the president’s proposal an “election year” budget.
“This is a president who promised to cut a $1.4 trillion budget deficit in half. He clearly has failed to do that,” Cole added.
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