South Dakota GOP Sen. John Thune
says despite not getting the desired amount of cuts in the 2011 spending compromise hammered out to thwart a government closure last Friday, given the fact that Democrats control Congress and the White House, he views it as a victory.
But Thune Tuesday told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto it is critical to continue to significantly reduce baseline spending in the 2012 budget and beyond — this time by trillions.
“Obviously, a lot of us would liked to have seen bigger spending reductions,” Thune said. “But given the fact that you have a Democrat Senate and a Democrat White House, being able to achieve the level of spending reductions that we did in this continuing resolution, I think, in the end, is a victory.
“Now, we can dispute about the various — you know, how the cuts will be distributed and that sort of thing, but the point is, we are reducing spending — that doesn`t happen around here very often,” he continued. “And it gets the debate about spending billions behind us, and allows us to focus on the debate about saving trillions, by focusing on the 2012 budget and the debt limit votes, which are coming up ahead of us.”
Thune stressed the entire budget process needs to be revamped, as proposed in legislation he introduced in the last Congress, the Deficit Reduction and Budget Reform Act . The bill would: cover a two-year period; make the budget a binding resolution; create a bipartisan congressional deficit-reduction committee; and freeze non-national-security discretionary spending for 10 years.
“Well, I think, every year, we go through this process — and last year was a good example — Congress didn`t pass a budget the most fundamental responsibility we have as elected officials to the taxpayers,” he said. “And it didn`t happen — not a single appropriation bill passed.
“And so the reason we have been having this debate about this continuing resolution is because it`s the unfinished business of last year,” Thune said. “We`re cleaning up the mess that Congress made last year — and so we have a broken budget process.
“And what I am simply saying is, what we ought to do is, instead of doing a budget every year, do a budget every other year,” he continued. “Do it in a non-election year, when you don`t have election-year pressures. And then, in the non-election . . . year, do oversight, and actually look for ways to save money, rather than ways to spend money.”
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