Monday, March 30, 2009

Sen. Gregg: Obama's budget plan 'will lead to immense national debt'

Sen. Judd Gregg, once President Barack Obama's choice to be commerce secretary, yesterday said the President's proposed budget "spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much."

New Hampshire's senior senator, the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, delivered the weekly Republican address.

The President focused his weekly address to the nation yesterday on the flooding in the Midwest, laying out the multi-agency federal response to the natural disaster.

He praised the efforts of thousands of volunteers who have pitched in to fill sandbags, build levees and provide other support -- and used their example to renew his call for community service.

"In the face of an incredible challenge, the people of these communities have rallied in support of one another," Obama said. "And their service isn't just inspirational -- it's integral to our response."

Gregg began his six-minute address by acknowledging the "difficult times" and "the efforts being made by our President and his seriousness about addressing these issues."

But, he said, the administration's budget would increase the national debt, taxes and government spending.

In contrast, Gregg said, Republicans "believe you create prosperity by having an affordable government that pursues its responsibilities without excessive costs, taxes or debt, that it is the individual American who creates prosperity and good jobs, not the government."

Gregg also said the Obama administration wants to create what he called "a new national sales tax on everyone's electric bill."

Republicans have criticized the administration's proposal to create a "cap and trade" system, which would require companies to purchase credits for carbon emissions.

The administration proposes using revenues generated from such a system to fund clean energy technology, and pay for a tax credit for Americans who earn less than $250,000 a year, a key campaign pledge for Obama. White House officials have said the "Making Work Pay" tax credit would compensate middle-class Americans for any increased utility costs under such a system, according to published reports.

The White House budget includes funding for that tax credit for 10 years. However, current House and Senate budget proposals cut funding for that tax credit beyond 2010, according to published reports.

Yesterday, Gregg warned that Obama's budget plan "will lead to an immense national debt that not only threatens the value of the dollar and puts at risk our ability to borrow money to run the government," but also places the next generation "at a huge disadvantage as they inherit this debt, which will make their chances of success less than those given to us by our parents."

Near the end of his five-minute address, the President hailed Congress' passage of a bill that promotes national service. "In facing sudden crises or more stubborn challenges, the truth is we are all in this together -- as neighbors and fellow citizens," Obama said.

And he closed by offering thoughts, prayers and "our continued assistance" to those dealing with the flooding.

NOTE: When first posted, this article misidentified the Cabinet post that Judd Gregg turned down.

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