(WASHINGTON) — The White House on Wednesday reacted to news that representations of President Obama’s budget had been voted down by the House and Senate by decrying the introduction of the amendments, by Republicans, as “gimmicks.”
“Gimmicks are not solutions,” White House press secretary Jay Carney emailed to ABC News. “The American people overwhelmingly support a balanced approach to our long-term budget challenges. That’s the approach the President supports. The sooner Republicans drop their intransigence and join the American people in supporting a balanced approach, the sooner Congress will be able to come together and reach a compromise.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Miss., introduced a budget amendment representing the president’s budget request; the Sessions amendment was voted down 99-0.
A similar effort from Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-SC, was rejected in the House 414-0.
Sessions told reporters that it was “stunning” that no one voted for the version of the Obama budget he put forward.
“A sitting president of the United States, seeking reelection, can’t lay out a plan that will gain a single vote in the House or Senate for the financial future of America,” he said. “It speaks volumes
While the Sessions and Mulvaney bills put forward the same topline numbers as those in the president’s budget, neither offered any specifics. The Sessions legislation was 56 pages long; actual budgets are closer to 2,000 pages long.
Thus, a White House official said, the Sessions proposal was a “shell that could be filled with a number of things that could hurt our economy and hurt the middle class. For example, rather than ending tax breaks for millionaires his budget could hit the revenue target by raising taxes on the middle class and rather than ending wasteful programs, his budget could hit its spending target with severe cuts to important programs.”
“This is the president’s budget,” said the top Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Kent Conrad of South Dakota, indicating the voluminous budget proposal Obama offered. “This is what Sen. Sessions has presented as being the president’s budget,” he said, indicating the much slimmer document.
“I think it’s readily apparent there is a big difference between the president’s budget, which I hold in my hands, and what Sen. Sessions has presented as being the president’s budget. This is not the president’s budget. So, of course, we’re not going to support it. It’s not what the president proposed,” Conrad continued.
The White House official said the Sessions and Mulvaney’s bills were mere GOP stunts to get Democrats on record opposing “the president’s budget” as well as distracting from what the House Republican budget would do, which the official described as “protect(ing) massive tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires while making the middle class and seniors pay.”
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