Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Obama Asks Critics For Alternative Budget, Boehner And McConnell Offer Zilch

President Obama challenged critics of his $3.6 trillion budget and its priorities in terms of health care, energy, taxes and economic recovery to come up with their own plan:

“If there are members of Congress who object to specific policies and proposals in this budget, then I ask them to be ready and willing to propose constructive, alternative solutions. 'Just say no’ is the right advice to give your teenagers about drugs. It is not an acceptable response to whatever economic policy is proposed by the other party.”

"Constructive, alternative solutions"? Don't count on it. In the words of Representative John Boehner of Ohio, the Republican leader:

“As I told my colleagues, we don’t have enough votes to legislate. We are not in the majority. We are not kind-of in the minority; we are in a hole. They ought to get the idea out of their minds that they are legislators. But what they can be is communicators.”

They'll communicate criticisms, alright. But not a counter-proposal. They don't have one, and they don't intend to propose one. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky made the same point in an interview with George Stephanopoulos. Watch:

McConnell: [W]e are going to offer a number of amendments to the Democratic proposal. […]

Stephanopoulos: But shouldn’t you have a comprehensive approach that lays out the trade-offs? If you just have rifle-shot amendments, you don’t have to make all the trade-offs that you have to make in an overall budget.

McConnell: Well, we’re just sort of getting down in the weeds here about procedure. Through the amendment process, we would absolutely reformulate the Democratic plan. Whether you have a comprehensive approach or whether you offer an amendment is something a parliamentarian can debate. (h/t Think Progress)

The problem isn't procedure. It's that Boehner, McConnell and the rest of the GOP have plenty of criticisms, but no answers to the economic disaster brought about by eight years of Republican rule.

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