Thompson joins in to critique budget
President Obama’s budget proposal has prompted wide-spread denunciation from Republicans since it was unveiled on Tuesday.
Perhaps predictably, both the traditional and tea party wings of the opposition party have found a rare unified voice in panning the proposal.
From House Speaker John Boehner’s description of it as Obama’s “most irresponsible budget yet” to sometime-tea party darling Rep. Paul Ryan calling it a “campaign document”, there’s little love amongst congressional Republicans for the president’s preferred 2015 fiscal narrative.
It’s nothing new. The president’s budget is rarely a realistic outline of achievable policy. It’s usually closer to an “ideal” budget, an outline of what the president would do if sole power of the purse were vested in the office.
As a result, the budget proposal often serves as an initial “shot over the bow” in budget negotiations. Actual spending levels are set by Congress, and Ryan, who chairs the House Committee on the Budget, is certain to have significant sway in deciding what appropriations are eventually passed. The release is just the start of the long haggling process by which the nation handles its finances.
Locally, Rep. Glenn Thompson is amongst the chorus of Republicans who feel the proposal is misguided.
“I think the president missed another opportunity to put forth a plan to address serious spending issues and debt,” Thompson said. “The bottom line is, the president’s budget doesn’t balance. It never does… This blueprint he put forth is consistent with the past ones he’s put forward… The past budgets received zero support, even from the individuals who ultimately sponsored them. They received zero votes.”
It’s not all partisan bickering in Washington, according to Thompson. The proposal comes on the heels of a compromise budget agreement in December, which set spending levels through the end of the 2014 fiscal year in October and set the stage for a return to regular order on federal budgets. As a result, many expected the proposal to set a more bipartisan tone.
“It basically violates all of the good bipartisan efforts that have been made,” Thompson said. “We’ve had some very positive things… the national defense authorization, the budget resolution, the farm bill… These have all passed into law.”
Thompson did find a bright spot in the President’s proposal in the form of increased focus on programs for which he’s advocated in his position on the House Education and the Workforce Committee – job training.
“The president identified job training as a focus,” Thompson noted. “That is one area of common ground… It’s an area where I lead. I talk a lot about the skills gap… Recognizing our number one issue that we face domestically is jobs. I agree with the president on that.”
Thompson said budget negotiations in the House are already well underway in anticipation of the annual deadline for adoption of a budget resolution on April 15.
“We’ve already been working on ours,” he said. “The House once again will do its job and have it on time.”
Thompson added that he hopes the proposal doesn’t set the tone for the president’s approach to the nation’s finances moving forward.
“”I’m just hoping the president hasn’t given up on addressing the serious financial issues that we face,” he said.
The federal fiscal year runs from Oct.1 through Sept. 30 each year.