Obama budget gets lukewarm response

PARKERSBURG – The president’s proposed federal budget Wednesday got mixed reviews from two West Virginia representatives.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, said the budget raises taxes and adds to the debt while Rep. Nick Joe Rahall, D-3rd, said there were good parts and some “purely awful.”

According to the White House, the $3.8 trillion fiscal 2014 budget:

  • Creates jobs by paying for investments in education, manufacturing, clean energy, infrastructure and small business.
  • Cuts the deficit another $1.8 trillion over 10 years, bringing total deficit reduction achieved to $4.3 trillion.
  • Represents more than $2 in spending cuts for every $1 of new revenue from closing tax loopholes and reducing tax benefits for the wealthiest.
  • Reduces the deficit to 2.8 percent of GDP by 2016 and 1.7 percent by 2023 with debt declining as a share of the economy.
  • Includes $400 billion in health savings that crack down on waste and fraud to strengthen Medicare for years to come.

Capito, however, said she was disappointed.

“After the long-awaited release of President Obama’s budget, I am disappointed to hear that he is seeking to increase spending by $964 billion, raise taxes by $1.1 trillion and add $8.2 trillion to our debt,” she said. “West Virginians deserve a budget that empowers them, not the federal government. Sadly, the president’s budget takes more from hardworking families in West Virginia and across the country to spend more in Washington, D.C.”

Rahall cited the budget’s impact on Social Security and Medicare.

“The President’s proposed budget is a mixed bag – some very good proposals; some purely awful. While I strongly support the investments for vital infrastructure so necessary to building our economy, I cannot endorse any budget that undercuts Social Security and Medicare, as this one does,” Rahall said. “Social Security and Medicare have their own set of challenges and they ought to be dealt with separately from the overall budget, and not used as piggy banks to offset some fanciful grand bargain, as the president proposes in his budget.”

Seniors, many on fixed incomes, have a moral claim on the benefits they have earned over a lifetime of paying into Social Security and Medicare, Rahall said.

“Those obligations must be honored,” Rahall said. “This budget has some bright spots, but it also is deeply flawed.”