Today the White House announced that President Obama will deliver a major speech Wednesday evening to “lay out a broad plan to reduce the nation’s soaring deficit and debt.” David Plouffe says the new plan will make clear that Obama “believes we need significant deficit reduction in the coming years.”
But wait! Didn’t Obama just lay out for us his vision of the nation’s fiscal future? Indeed he did: the administration presented its FY 2012 budget on February 14, less than 60 days ago. And already, that budget has been relegated to the scrap heap. Obama will now start over with a fiscal plan that he hopes will be more credible than his official FY 2012 proposal.
That tells you everything you need to know about who won the standoff over FY 2011. Republican calls for a responsible budget are in the ascendancy, as the administration’s polling evidently confirms. You can draw the same conclusion from the evolution in Harry Reid’s statements about spending cuts, as noted by Andrew Stiles at The Corner:
Harry Reid, Feb. 3, 2011, on Paul Ryan’s initial offer of $32 billion in spending cuts:
The chairman of the Budget Committee today, today sent us something even more draconian than we originally anticipated…So this isn’t some game that people have been playing. The House of Representatives [is] actually sending us some of these unworkable plans.
Harry Reid, April 9, 2011, on a deal to cut $38.5 billion:
This is historic, what we’ve done.
When the Democrats are trying to take credit for spending cuts (much as President Clinton tried to claim credit for welfare reform, after vetoing it twice), you don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing.
UPDATE: Ranking Senate Budget Committee member Jeff Sessions released a statement today, calling on President Obama to submit a new budget:
The President recently submitted a budget to Congress that was the most irresponsible spending plan any President has ever put forward. Today’s announcement that the President will deliver an address this week on deficit reduction is an apparent recognition that the budget plan he submitted to Congress, as required by law, fails to address our dire fiscal challenges. However, it will not be sufficient for the President to simply make a speech. Instead, he must fulfill his duty as president and submit a new budget plan to Congress specifically setting forth the changes he wishes to make to his previous proposal, including both mandatory and discretionary savings. The President’s vision, whatever it is, must be presented in a detailed, concrete form. CBO must be able to score it and I and the Budget Committees in the House and Senate must be able to scrutinize it. I am uneasy that this announcement has been made not by a substantive policy official such as his budget director or Treasury Secretary but by the President’s top political advisor.
By law, three bodies in Washington must present a budget: the House, the Senate, and the White House.
So far, only the House has satisfied its legal obligation in a meaningful way.