WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama’s proposed $4 trillion budget for 2016 would not increase the deficit and also help pay down the $18 trillion national debt, the head of the Office of Management and Budget said Tuesday.
“We have taken the action of the full six years of the president in office … (it has) achieved the fastest rate in lowering the deficit,” OMB director Shaun Donovan said at a Senate budget Committee hearing. “We made further changes both on the spending debt and in other areas in this budget, which will reduce the debt.”
Senate Budget Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Enzi, R-Wyo., said Obama’s 2016 budget plan, which would introduce $259 billion of new spending in the next fiscal year, will put more debt on every Americans in the next 10 years.
“He wants to spend more; he wants to tax more; he wants to regulate more; he wants to borrow more, and he wants us to owe more, more and more,” said Enzi in his opening statement. “The president’s proposal fails in all three elements of his mission.”
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., also attacked the Obama plan and said the proposal not only creates additional deficits but also violates spending controls in the Budget Control Act, also commonly known as sequestration.
“When you agree to a spending limit, you stick with it.” Sessions said.
Donovan countered that the Obama budget reduces spending, arguing across-the board spending cuts, enacted in 2011, should end because they don’t target current needs.
“This country needs to invest in the things that would help grow our middle class,” Donovan said. “We cut taxes for 44 million families by an average of $6,000 per family through this budget and we do ask that where we have places in our tax code that are not only unfair but also actually discourage economic growth.”
Donovan said a capital gains tax hike, which Obama has vigorously tried to sell, is one of the many measures that would help pay for increases in spending.
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said the 2016 budget plan begins to move the nation in the right direction.
“If we are serious about rebuilding the disappearing middle class, reducing income and wealth inequality, and strengthening Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, we need a budget that creates millions of jobs, raises wages, makes college affordable, and demand that the wealthiest people in this country pay their fair share,” Sanders said.