I feel a little bad for Heather Higginbottom in this clip — no, seriously, I do. The new nominee for Deputy Director of OMB went to the Senate yesterday for her confirmation hearing and ended up feeling the sting of Jeff Sessions’ expert cross-examination. Unfortunately for Higginbottom, she had to defend the indefensible, a series of statements about Barack Obama’s budget that were flat-out lies about its supposed fiscal responsibility. Sessions rips Obama, Tim Geithner, and OMB Director Jacob Lew and in the end gets her to concede that their claims on the budget were entirely wrong, if not deliberately false.
If you want to grow up to be a prosecutor or a Senator, or both, then consider this a practical lab on how it’s done. The same is true if you aspire to shoot fish in a barrel:
Here’s my money quote from the clip, at the 4:25 mark:
HH: Senator, I think if we’re trying to lay a responsible fiscal path coming out of this severe economic downturn, then one of the first things we have to do is to stop digging into the hole with the programs we’re proposing and funding.
JS: Does this budget do that?
HH: The budget provides a path to ensure —
JS: Does the budget do that? I don’t know what a path means. In ten years, does it do what you said?
HH: Does it not add to the debt?
Actually, it does add to the debt, so that hole just keeps getting bigger. Higginbottom doesn’t seem to understand the hole she dug herself in her testimony. Sessions makes it clear at the 5:09 mark:
JS: Let’s take the last three years of the President’s ten year budget. Do the deficits go down those years eight, nine, and ten, or does it go up in eight, nine, and ten?
HH: I don’t have the deficit table in front of me —
JS: Well, that’s an important matter. I know what they basically say.
HH: The President’s budget reduces the deficit, takes it to about $600 billion and stabilizes it, but as I —
JS: No, it doesn’t stabilize it. In years 8, 9, and 10, it goes up every year and reaches approximately nine hundred billion from six hundred billion.
Come on, Senator Sessions. Everyone in the White House thinks that only increasing the deficit by 50% over three years is “stabilization”! At least Higginbottom had enough honesty to admit that debt service is still part of the budget, and that borrowing to pay for debt service is still spending.
I think they’re going to need a new nominee soon.