President Obama wants a clean hike in the debt ceiling and insists he is doing substantial work to reduce our debt and deficits. But both of those ideas are pure fantasy, according to one of the top Republicans on the House Budget Committee.
Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., is vice chairman of the House Budget Committee and a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. He told WND while Obama is correct that a debt-ceiling hike is in response to existing expenses, there's no reason our massive deficits have to continue.
"Just because there are programs that continue spending under current law forever and ever, that doesn't mean they have to continue forever and ever," Price said. "In fact, if we stay on the current course, they will go bankrupt. Medicare is on the road to bankruptcy under this president. Medicaid is on the road to bankruptcy under this president. Social Security is on the road to bankruptcy under this president. So we absolutely must reform these programs so we save them and strengthen them and secure them for those who need them in our society and for this generation and for future generations."
Price also categorically rejects Obama's assertion that his administration has taken great strides in cutting spending over the past four years.
"All you've got to do is look at the numbers and appreciate that that is not the case," Price said. "This is an administration that has been in charge when we've had the largest increase in absolute debt to our nation in a four-year period of time ever, $4 trillion-plus deficits for each of the four years that he's been in office. And his budget continues that process."
"There are wonderful, positive solutions. That's what we'll be putting forward in our budget," he said. "That's what we'll be embracing. We hope that the president and his people recognize there are positive reforms that need to be put into place to get this economy rolling again."
According to Price, there are all sorts of accounting gimmicks involved in Obama's claims of responsible spending.
"Some of it is reductions in the slope of growth. Some of it is actually fictitious or double counting," said Price. "For example, the Budget Control Act of 2011 had $1.2 trillion in spending reductions through the sequester. He wants to count that $1.2 trillion again. That's not the way this works."
On Monday, President Obama asserted that Social Security payments and veterans benefits would not be sent out if Congress fails to lift the debt ceiling. Price said that is also patently false.
"We won't allow that to happen, but we also believe there is an appropriate prioritization of spending in this country that ought to occur," added Price, who says the House GOP will pass a prioritization plan should the debt ceiling not be raised. He said military pay, avoiding default by paying interest on the debt and benefits for seniors will be at the top of that list.
Price also echoed other GOP lawmakers in saying there is much greater resolve among Republicans to demand real reforms and spending cuts for any hike in the debt ceiling.
Obama has also once again failed to present his proposed budget to Congress by the deadline required by law. Price says this is no small detail.
"The law requires that the Congress pass a budget by April 15. In order for that to happen, the law also requires that the president submit his budget by a date certain at the end of January," said Price. "In this case, the president is not going to meet that deadline once again. Now the reason that's important is that the Congress doesn't work their budget off the assumptions that the president uses. We move through the Congressional Budget Office, and it takes time. So the further the president backs that up, the more difficult it is for Congress to meet it's budgetary deadline, understanding that we are very hopeful that the Senate will actually adopt a budget this year, which they haven't done for the past four years."
"On the House side, we've adopted a budget the last two years that has gotten on a path to balance and actually paying off the debt," Price said. "We will do that again. We challenge our Senate colleagues to do the same."