Obama’s deficit plan draws lukewarm response from Nebraska
September 23rd, 2011
Omaha, NE – President Barack Obamaâ€™s deficit plan was front and center at the U.S. Capitol this week, and drew a lukewarm response from Nebraskaâ€™s Senators.
The Presidentâ€™s plan would reduce deficits by $3 trillion over ten years. It includes savings from the troop drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, trimming Medicaid and Medicare, and cutting direct farmer subsidies.
â€œThis is how we can reduce spending,â€ the President said in his speech Monday, â€œby scouring the budget for every dime of waste and inefficiency, by reforming government spending and by making modest adjustments to Medicare and Medicaid.â€
Obamaâ€™s plan is drawing criticism from both sides of the aisle, including from the Senators of Nebraska. Republican Senator Mike Johanns addressed the plan in his weekly conference call with reporters, saying it amounts to â€œsmoke and mirrors.â€
â€œHeâ€™s claiming savings from a troop drawdown in Iraq and Afghanistan, but this is based on the assumption that our troop levels would otherwise stay constant for the next decade,â€ Johanns said. â€œThese are levels never envisioned or requested by the administration, and it really is fuzzy math to claim a trillion dollars in savings for these items. No one believes thatâ€™s a serious proposal.â€
The Presidentâ€™s plan also leans heavily on rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans to draw in savings. In his speech, Obama said he wonâ€™t allow any deficit reduction plan that does not balance the burden fairly.
â€œI will veto any bill that changes benefits for those who rely on Medicare, but does not ask the wealthiest Americans or biggest corporations to pay their fair share,â€ Obama said.
Nebraskaâ€™s Democratic Senator Ben Nelson responded to that part of the plan, telling reporters â€œall the talk about raising revenuesâ€ is â€œnot helpfulâ€ and that the President should focus more on cutting spending. But not when it comes to veteranâ€™s benefits. In his weekly conference call, Nelson also criticized the Presidentâ€™s inclusion of requiring veterans to pay in more to their retirement plans.
â€œMen and women currently serving in our armed services have earned the retirement benefits they were promised when they joined,â€ Nelson said, â€œand Washington shouldnâ€™t change the rules of the retirement now.â€
Congress is going to have to come up with some deficit cutting they can agree on. The so-called Super-Committee has a November deadline to come up with a plan that will pass and up or down vote, to avoid deep, across-the-board cuts that nobody will like.
Comments are closed.