President Obama's call to freeze the federal budget at current levels will fall far short of reining in spending and reducing the deficit, Congressman Jerry Lewis said Tuesday. He urged the President to support efforts to roll back spending to at least 2008 levels to begin to get a handle on the ballooning federal debt.
"Federal spending under President Obama has increased so much that a "budget freeze" will cause us to spend $80 billion more next year than we did just two years ago in 2008," Lewis said in response to the President's call for a freeze in the State of the Union speech. "This will not get the job done on turning around our reckless levels of spending. If we are serious about our $14 trillion national debt, we must begin to cut spending now, not just talk about avoiding more increases."
Prior to the President's speech Tuesday, the House voted 256-165 to approve a resolution calling for rolling back non-defense discretionary spending to 2008 levels. Lewis has been calling for that rollback for months, and strongly supported Tuesday's resolution.
Lewis praised the President's call for a cut in the corporate tax rate, and pledged to help support passage of that measure "as the best way possible to promote job growth and get our economy back on track."
But he opposed new "stimulus" spending proposals included in the speech, warning that they would likely be expensive failures like last year's massive stimulus package.
"It is troubling that the President has advocating more stimulus spending that will undermine even the small savings he has promised," Lewis said. "The administration last year proclaimed that the $800 billion stimulus bill would limit and eventually reverse unemployment. But unemployment has risen to more than 9 percent and more than 2.1 million jobs have been lost since passage of that bloated package -- all of which went straight to the national debt."
Lewis said the President's actions throughout the past year have shown that he is committed to increasing the size of the federal government. Although he is committed to working with the administration to reduce spending, Lewis said he believes the President and his supporters still firmly believe that big government has the answer for everything.
"It's up to the Congress to be serious about getting our runway spending under control, and we must remember that Congress has the constitutional responsibility to propose and approve the federal budget," Lewis said. "We were not elected to rubber stamp any President's budget."