Thune: President's Budget is Reckless and Irresponsible

May 7th, 2009 - Washington, D.C. - Senator John Thune issued the following statement in response to the detailed budget proposal President Obama submitted to Congress today:

"The President again failed to follow the example of South Dakotans who are making prudent financial decisions by not spending beyond their means. The President and the Democrats in Congress have created a budget that doubles the total combined debt of every previous Administration. Our government cannot continue to borrow money at this pace and stick our children and grandchildren with the bill."

As of May 1st, the Obama Administration has increased the debt by $580 billion, or over $5.5 billion per day for the first 101 days. The previous all-time record budget deficit was $455 billion for an entire year.

"The President highlights that his proposed budget would reduce 121 existing federal programs for a savings of $17 billion. What he does not emphasize is that $17 billion represents less than half of one percent of the federal budget, not to mention that this `savings' is used for additional spending elsewhere. To say that cutting one half of one percent from the budget is a major step forward for fiscal discipline is cynical politics at best.

"The amount of money this budget proposes spending is disheartening enough, but the fact that the President ignored critical priorities in the process is even more frustrating. Even with a bloated budget, important projects like the Lewis and Clark Rural Water System, which creates jobs and develops critical infrastructure to promote future growth, are significantly underfunded or unfunded. The same can be said for President's failure to address the Emergency Fund for Indian Health and Safety, which would help improve the quality of life for some of those Americans most in need."

The President's budget also maintains the harmful proposal to eliminate direct farm payments for over 60 percent of South Dakota's agriculture production, raises taxes on small businesses and families, and seeks to implement a national energy tax that would cost families up to $3,100 per year.

The Emergency Fund for Indian Health and Safety was created by Senator Thune's amendment to a foreign assistance bill last year. The fund is authorized to spend up to $2 billion over five years on public safety, health care, and water projects in Indian Country, but this was left out of the President's budget.

"I have worked with my colleagues to offer constructive alternatives designed to restore responsibility to our government's budget, just like families are working to set their own budgets today. However, Congressional Democrats and the Obama Administration have failed to live up to their own calls for responsibility, and I fear that future generations will be the ones left to pick up the check for this extravagant budget."

The President's 10-year budget adds on average $1 trillion to the federal debt each year. By the end of the President's Budget, the Obama Administration will have added more to the federal debt than every president from George Washington to George W. Bush combined. Additionally, the federal debt held by the public will total 80 percent of our gross domestic product under President Obama's budget proposal.