Senate Dems blast WH, leadership budget cuts

posted at 10:12 am on March 8, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

Dick Durbin may think that cutting $10.5 billion from a $3700 billion budget is the upper limit of what Democrats can do, but not everyone in his caucus agrees.  Two of his colleagues heaped scorn on the paltry effort from the White House and Democratic leadership, going public in their criticism.  Not surprisingly, both come from red states where voters will decide whether to send them back to Washington in 2012.

First, Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she wants deeper cuts before she’ll cast a vote for the Reid-Obama plan:

“I feel strongly that the cuts are not large enough, but there are some cuts, so I don’t know whether I’ll be for it or against it,” Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) told reporters Monday night. “But I know it doesn’t go as far as we need to go.”

After House Republicans passed a bill calling for $61 billion in cuts below current spending, Senate Democrats countered Friday with their own spending proposal that included only $10.5 billion in cuts. Both proposals will get a vote in the Senate this week, although neither is expected to have enough support to pass the upper chamber.

However, the Democratic caucus is not unified behind their party’s proposal – at least not yet. Several moderate Democrats in the Senate – many of whom are up for reelection in 2012 — told POLITICO that they were not sure yet how they would vote.

West Virginia’s Joe Manchin was a little more blunt — and will put the blame squarely on the White House:

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who plans to vote against both the Republican and Democratic versions of a long-term continuing resolution, will deliver a floor speech today in which he says President Barack Obama has failed to lead and needs to step up to the negotiating table. “[B]oth our options are extremely partisan and unrealistic. And neither one will pass. The first is a Democratic proposal that doesn’t go nearly far enough. This proposal, which calls for $6.5 billion in new cuts, utterly ignores our fiscal reality … Or, we could choose a second, even more flawed measure: a GOP proposal that blindly hacks the budget with no sense of our priorities or of our values as a country,” he plans to say. “Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations – our president – has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for? … This debate will be decided when the president leads these tough negotiations. And, right now – that is not happening. … The bottom line is this – the president is the leader of this great nation, and when it comes to an issue of significant national importance, the president must lead. Not the majority leader or speaker, but the president.

Manchin’s trying to play coy by hammering Republicans for cutting too deeply and his own party for not cutting enough.  However, the GOP’s cuts only amount to 1.6% of the total budget, which hardly amounts to trimming the fat, let alone the meat or bone.  Even if only discretionary spending is considered, the $61 billion from $1.3 trillion means a reduction of just 4.7%, hardly noticeable after the runup of discretionary spending by Democrats over the last four years by 24%.  It’s less than 8% of Obama’s stimulus package from 2009, hardly a “draconian” cut by any measure except in Beltwayese.

Ben Nelson also hasn’t decided which way he’ll go on the budget, and other red-state Democrats might be riding the fence.  Assuming Reid loses Nelson, McCaskill, and Manchin, then he’s down to 50 votes and can’t afford to lose anyone else.  What will Jon Tester (D-MT) do?  For that matter, how about Jim Webb, who has already announced his retirement after just a single term in office?  Those votes may not swing to the Republican plan — Manchin apparently is too frightened to cut more than 1% of the federal budget — but clearly the ridiculous effort from the White House and Senate Democratic leadership is in serious trouble, and it doesn’t appear that Reid’s caucus wants to go to the mattresses in defense of a plan that keeps 99.72% of federal spending in place.


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Senator McCaskill:

We aren’t fooled.

Sincerely,

The People

pugwriter on March 8, 2011 at 10:16 AM

Awww, how cute, Joe Manchin wants to get re-elected.

Vyce on March 8, 2011 at 10:19 AM

How come the Dems figured out how to manipulate the weak links (Snowe, Collins, Specter) in the GOP to get their way on Stimulus, Omnibus etc. right off the bat and the GOP can’t manipulate the Dem weak links (Nelson, Webb, Manchin, McCaskill etc.)? The GOP only needs to peel off 4 votes on anything and they will have a majority.

txmomof6 on March 8, 2011 at 10:20 AM

First, Claire McCaskill of Missouri says she wants deeper cuts before she’ll cast a vote for the Reid-Obama plan:

Why on earth does anyone pay attention to anything McCaskill says?

Her idea of reforming the credit card industry was limited to making the font size on the disclosure and monthly statements larger. So her Mom could read it easier. Apparently, the 30% interest rate her mom was paying wasn’t a concern.

BobMbx on March 8, 2011 at 10:21 AM

Gee. Nothing like Obama driving the economy off the cliff and into an erupting volcano to get a couple of weasel Dems to have a “Come to Jesus” moment . . .

BigAlSouth on March 8, 2011 at 10:21 AM

The GOP only needs to peel off 4 votes on anything and they will have a majority.

txmomof6 on March 8, 2011 at 10:20 AM

They’re gonna need 60 votes, so make that 4 a 13.

steebo77 on March 8, 2011 at 10:24 AM

Here’s leadership: Someone, anyone propose to start tackling entitlements. Otherwise, it’s just talk for show. First up: Meaningful Social Security Reform. Hello? Bueller? Bueller? Bueller?

search4truth on March 8, 2011 at 10:25 AM

I think this makes the red-state Democrats even more dishonest than their blue-state brethren. Granted, they are all scum and unworthy of any votes. It’s simply a matter how scummy at any given moment.

SKYFOX on March 8, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Hem. Haw. Next.

Tim Zank on March 8, 2011 at 10:26 AM

Democrats don’t actually care what gets cut. They are afraid that the IDEA might sink in that government spending does not, in fact, improve the economy. They are defending their theories, not their constituents. That is why we hear apocalyptic language about hundreds of thousands of jobs being lost when Republicans propose even the most minimal cuts.

A balanced budget would, to them, spell disaster and their end as a viable national party. Their existence literally depends on borrowing money and doling it out.

Mord on March 8, 2011 at 10:27 AM

McCaskill and Manchin aren’t “waking up and smelling the TEA.” They’re just trying to save their a$$es, politically.

UltimateBob on March 8, 2011 at 10:28 AM

Hey, I know! Let’s brew some Obama Brand White House Beers!

That’s way more fun than prezidentin’ !

/BHO

Key West Reader on March 8, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Senator McCaskill,
Didn’t you vote FOR Obamacare? I think so.
Get your boxes packed, you’ll be leaving in 2012.We have had enough of you and your ilk, Republicans included.
The people are pi–ed and we are going to take the country back!!

Dr Bob on March 8, 2011 at 10:30 AM

See, Democrats up for reelection can be very transparent.

Cindy Munford on March 8, 2011 at 10:35 AM

The GOP only needs to peel off 4 votes on anything and they will have a majority.

txmomof6 on March 8, 2011 at 10:20 AM
They’re gonna need 60 votes, so make that 4 a 13.

steebo77 on March 8, 2011 at 10:24 AM

You only need 60 to shut down a filibuster. If an item is on the agenda for a vote then you just need a majority to win. The CR has to come up for a vote or Reid can be held responsible for NOT bringing it up for a vote.

txmomof6 on March 8, 2011 at 10:37 AM

The Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2012 are coming to the realization that Dick Durbin (up for re-election in 2014), Chuck Schumer (up in 2016) and Harry Reid (also up in ’16) have decided that they will play the “bad cop” in any fights over the budget, and will basically give Obama a pass to continue voting “present” in order to maintain the strategy of having him seemingly move to the middle to get re-elected next year.

It’s not a problem for the Dems’ Senate leadership, because none of them face the voters next year. But to be seen by the public as the left-leaning heavies in this drama is a problem for McCaskill and many of the other 22 who are running in 2012. They can see they’re being prepared for depositing under the bus just the way Pelosi threw 60-plus colleagues there last November in order to get ObamaCare® passed and push other big-budget programs even swing voters couldn’t tolerate. The question is when push comes to shove, will they have the guts to defy their leadership and risk the threat of primary challenges from the True Believer wing of the Democratic Party a year from now.

jon1979 on March 8, 2011 at 10:39 AM

The takeaway…

Politicians, collectively, think We, collectively, are idiots.

franksalterego on March 8, 2011 at 10:40 AM

I find this whole debate rather amusing….whether to cut 10 billion or 150 billion from the budget…neither side is really setious, are they???

I mean come on you’re kidding right…February’s deficit was 223 billion alone.

It’s like picking the fly shit out of the pepper. The games over. Let’s crash this thing and start over.

PatriotRider on March 8, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Sorry, Claire. You voted for Obamacare. So did you, Ben Nelson. And Manchin didn’t wait very long to sell out either when he voted against the repeal of Obamacare.

So spare me the sudden devotion to fiscal conservatism. If you were this concerned about the budget deficit, where the hell were you guys last year?

Doughboy on March 8, 2011 at 10:43 AM

Hey Munchkin hope you bust yer balls straddlin that fence. Thanks a lot West Virginny! Sent us a real hero spelled Zero!
Maybe Munchkin should get his rifle back out and do some targeted blastin!

dhunter on March 8, 2011 at 10:46 AM

But the MSM has told me that Obama is a lock for 2012. And the MSM has also told me that Obama will have really long coat tails. So why in the world would 2 Dems be worried? They’ll each with with 71% of the vote.

angryed on March 8, 2011 at 10:46 AM

The 1.65% of the budget is like someone with a $100,000 having to cut out $4.52 per day, wow, what a freakin’ sacrifice that would be.

hip shot on March 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM

I do not understand why they don’t just give everyone a 5 percent across-the-board cut. 5 percent will hurt no one, and everyone shares equally in a larger government cut. Then they can slice and dice to their hearts’ content on the real FY budget.

Tennman on March 8, 2011 at 10:53 AM

McCaskill is a certified idiot . . . that whole state must have just awakened from an all night drunk on the morning they elected her. Manchin is just continuing his pandering to his parasitic constituents.

rplat on March 8, 2011 at 10:53 AM

West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.): “…a GOP proposal that blindly hacks the budget with no sense of our priorities or of our values as a country…”

What a fool. How the heck did this guy ever do his job as governor?

Like most Democrats, Manchin prefers a budget that blindly throws trillions of taxpayer dollars around with no accountability.

Of the two plans, when you’re $14 trillion in the hole, the one that “blindly hacks the budget” is preferable.

UltimateBob on March 8, 2011 at 10:54 AM

Claire, Ben, and Manchin are just waiting for their bribes. Then they’ll be completely on board with their vote.

capejasmine on March 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM

The 1.65% of the budget is like someone with a $100,000 having to cut out $4.52 per day, wow, what a freakin’ sacrifice that would be.

hip shot on March 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM

1.65% of $100,000 is $1650.
Math much?

KeepOhioRed on March 8, 2011 at 11:00 AM

This from Wisconsin:

Calling his state “broke,” Walker crafted a budget that slashes spending by $4.2 billion, or 6.7%. The cuts fall heavily on school districts, counties and municipalities because state aid to them eats up more than half the budget.

This from Congress:

However, the GOP’s cuts only amount to 1.6% of the total budget, which hardly amounts to trimming the fat, let alone the meat or bone. Even if only discretionary spending is considered, the $61 billion from $1.3 trillion means a reduction of just 4.7%,

It appears the Federal government can’t even cut spending by as much as one state….something is seriously wrong with this picture

Ann on March 8, 2011 at 11:01 AM

Sorry, Claire… That OBAMACARE vote killed your chances for reelection in 2012…

I hope your party PRIMARIES you, so the experience will hurt longer and deeper… Especially in the campaign finance pocket book…

IT IS TIME FOR YOU TO GO AWAY…

Khun Joe on March 8, 2011 at 11:06 AM

I can’t help thinking when I look at Claire that she looks like someone who should be inefficiently running a DMV office, not a United States Senator,,,
“Should be more cuts but I may vote for less if they make me…I don’t know yet what I can get away with”

WHAT a born leader standing on principal!

golfmann on March 8, 2011 at 11:15 AM

Sen. Manchin:

“Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations – our president – has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?

Why are Senators doing all this? Isn’t that their JOB?

But we should give Manchin credit–he isn’t blindly following Dear Leader.

Steve Z on March 8, 2011 at 11:17 AM

Palin can see Russia right through McCaskill’s ears. How does something like this get elected?

rjoco1 on March 8, 2011 at 11:20 AM

The 1.65% of the budget is like someone with a $100,000 having to cut out $4.52 per day, wow, what a freakin’ sacrifice that would be.

hip shot on March 8, 2011 at 10:50 AM

1.65% of $100,000 is $1650.
Math much?

KeepOhioRed on March 8, 2011 at 11:00 AM

Divide $1650 per YEAR by 365 and you do get $4.52 per DAY.
Or $4.51 per day in a leap year.

Steve Z on March 8, 2011 at 11:21 AM

Burning crosses bridges so soon, Manchin? You…you…you racist!

But seriously, if Joe Manchin wants some street cred, this ain’t the way to do it.

SouthernGent on March 8, 2011 at 11:22 AM

1.65% of $100,000 is $1650.
Math much?

KeepOhioRed on March 8, 2011 at 11:00 AM

$4.51 x 365 = 1649.8

Mucho math!

You publik skool teacher?

dhunter on March 8, 2011 at 11:26 AM

Claire, Ben, and Manchin are just waiting for their bribes. Then they’ll be completely on board with their vote.

capejasmine on March 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM

Ben better hope his comes in the form of a new career opening.
Doesn’t matter which way he jumps on this thing.

a capella on March 8, 2011 at 11:27 AM

Hey, I know! Let’s brew some Obama Brand White House Beers!

That’s way more fun than prezidentin’ !

/BHO

Key West Reader on March 8, 2011 at 10:29 AM

To be served cold to mollify the cops when Obama calls them stupid.

Then again, it might not be a bad idea. Let’s have a Senator Sixpack party at the White House, and when Bambi gets buzzed he might sign the budget bill.

Steve Z on March 8, 2011 at 11:28 AM

$4.51 x 365 = 1649.8

Mucho math!

You publik skool teacher?

dhunter on March 8, 2011 at 11:26 AM

oops 4.52 x 365 = 1649.8

me publik skool typester

dhunter on March 8, 2011 at 11:29 AM

After watching Obama throw the House Dems over the cliff, looks like some Senate Dems are getting skittish.

Let me give you a hint … You are expendable … LOL

More lobster Moochelle?

tarpon on March 8, 2011 at 11:31 AM

This is pathetic political posturing by Senator McCaskill. She postures as ‘Miss Anti-Earmarks” but when the rubber meets the road, she gets in line with the most liberal of senators and votes the Reid/Durbin party line. Missouri voters! Don’t fall for this nonsense. Throw this dissembler out in 2012!

stefano1 on March 8, 2011 at 11:34 AM

I guess we need to find 20 billion more in cuts. Maybe we can make more cuts in heating oil for the poor.

dave742 on March 8, 2011 at 11:41 AM

A good first step would be to remove SS and Medicare from the general fund so that it can no longer be used as a slush fund and must be used for intended purposes.

The real problem is that the government has us over a barrel.

Most of us pay taxes before we even see the money we earn or when we purchase things and therefore we don’t see how much we are actually paying. It also means that we cannot “go on strike” as we don’t have the control over the taxes we pay.

I believe both sides will just continue with their empty talk until the inevitable collapse.

Jvette on March 8, 2011 at 11:42 AM

Claire, Ben, and Manchin are just waiting for their bribes. Then they’ll be completely on board with their vote.

capejasmine on March 8, 2011 at 10:57 AM

BREAKING….

Charleston, WV
A new $700M state of the art hospital will be built with federal dollars and named The Manchin Center For Medicine. In an unrelated story, Sen. Manchin has decided to vote with Obama on everything for the rest of the year.

angryed on March 8, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Did Manchin just wake up? When the hell has Barry “lead” in anything?

GarandFan on March 8, 2011 at 11:49 AM

Yesterday, Dallas Federal Reserve Bank chief Richard Fischer compared Congress to Lindsey Lohan. And Fischer’s a Democrat.

Fisher would vote against bond purchases if they prove “counterproductive”

Ward Cleaver on March 8, 2011 at 11:51 AM

Charleston, WV
A new $700M state of the art hospital will be built with federal dollars and named The Manchin Center For Medicine. In an unrelated story, Sen. Manchin has decided to vote with Obama on everything for the rest of the year.

angryed on March 8, 2011 at 11:44 AM

Pulling a Richard KKK Byrd?

Ward Cleaver on March 8, 2011 at 11:53 AM

Er, Robert KKK Byrd.

Ward Cleaver on March 8, 2011 at 11:53 AM

1.65% of $100,000 is $1650.
Math much?

KeepOhioRed on March 8, 2011 at 11:00 AM

That’s per year. What is it per day?

Reading comprehension much?

fossten on March 8, 2011 at 12:01 PM

Ypu cant really expect the President to address budget issues when he still has his laser like focus on jobs now can you? Lets get the high speed rail, some shovel ready road projects, maybe a new round of cash for clunkers…and the next batch of homebrew under way. Then…Then maybe he will have time to consider budget issues.

Koa on March 8, 2011 at 12:59 PM

What are people to think about a president who says we need to cut the budget but doesn’t do anything to actually cut the budget. We all know we’re heading for an iceberg, including the president, yet he does nothing but say we need to do something.
 
Logical conclusion, and you only have 2 choices on this one, either BO is completely incompetent or he believes they (liberal/progressive/marxists) can take advantage of the chaos created by a financial meltdown.
 
I’d like to think he’s just a dunce, but his past associations tell me there is more to this than stupidity. On the other hand, RINOs have helped things along over the years and they definitely fall into the incompetence camp.

ClanDerson on March 8, 2011 at 1:19 PM

The big O should appoint Bush W to lead an entitlements reform committee. We already know the outcome, and Bush will come away with the blame for the cuts. No harm. And O comes out unscathed with bipartisan cred.

AZCON on March 8, 2011 at 1:20 PM