U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today in response to comments by President Obama regarding the upcoming "fiscal cliff":
"I was pleased to hear the President's call for budget ideas from both parties, but bipartisan cooperation will require good accounting. I was therefore troubled that he described his budget proposal as a path to deficit reduction, as it brings our total debt to $25.4 trillion in 2022 according to his own projections. Instead of reducing spending, his plan increases taxes to pay for even more spending: annual federal spending will grow from $3.5 trillion today to $5.7 trillion in 2022.
His budget also does nothing about the surging growth of welfare expenditures. All operations of government will need belt tightening. But under the President's proposal, total spending on federal welfare programs will grow another 30 percent by 2016--to approximately $1 trillion in federal spending and more than $350 billion in state contributions. Real entitlement reform requires welfare reform. A modest reduction in growth, along with improved standards and work requirements, can produce substantial savings and ensure resources are targeted to those in need. Welfare reform will also strengthen our immigration system and remove incentives for illegal immigration.
Budget reforms should be combined with efforts to encourage economic growth that benefits everyday hardworking Americans: more and cheaper domestic energy, a fair trade policy that defends U.S. workers, a streamlined tax code that makes America more globally competitive, a strong national defense that keeps the peace, and a disciplined budget plan that creates confidence and prevents a debt crisis."