Speaking on the Senate floor this morning, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell again made the case that now is the time for Congress to tackle our out-of-control federal spending. “A few weeks ago, President Obama reportedly said that America doesn’t have a spending problem. Well, he’s wrong. This is completely at odds with what independent experts tell us. And last week, I brought this chart behind me to the floor to illustrate the point. As everyone knows, we’re already running trillion dollar deficits. What this chart shows is that the gap between government spending and revenue just keeps getting wider and wider in the years ahead. . . . Clearly, we need to address spending. There’s simply no other way to solve the problem.”
He continued, “We also need to shine a light into every corner of the budget, especially the dark corners that often evade real scrutiny. And we need to root out waste, which will serve as the first real test of Democrats’ seriousness in this debate. I mean, why is the federal government funding Chinese studies on pig manure, and research into the smoking habits of Jordanian college students, and reality TV shows in India? Are Democrats prepared to cut this kind of waste?”
Following him on the Senate floor was Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, a liberal Democrat from Rhode Island. Interestingly, Sen. Whitehouse candidly admitted, “So yeah, do we have a spending problem? Of course we do.” Unfortunately, he followed that up by suggesting that he’d be skeptical of cutting pig manure studies because that could lead to cuts in Social Security.
Of course, this precisely illustrates Leader McConnell’s point. If Democrats aren’t prepared to cut even this obvious waste, he said, “there’s really no hope of ever putting our country back on a path to prosperity.” As he concluded, “For those who want to pretend that our country does not have a spending problem, now is the time to face reality. We can take on this challenge together if both sides are ready to do the necessary work to reform spending. But we have to get started today. Not next week. Not in April. Today.”