Lee Statement on President's Deficit Reduction Speech

April 13, 2011

WASHINGTON – Today, Senator Mike Lee responded to the President’s speech on deficit reduction:

“While it is encouraging the President has finally decided to participate in the deficit debate, it is disappointing that he has offered a so-called framework that ignores the destructive, burdensome long-term costs of entitlements and reversed his position on increasing taxes on the American people.

“What the President calls ‘savings’ won’t scratch the surface of our annual deficit and, without a plan to balance the budget, the President continues to increase the national debt to unfathomable and irresponsible levels, which threatens our future prosperity.

“His calls to reduce our most bloated entitlement programs by roughly $30 to $40 billion per year are woefully inadequate to address an annual deficit approaching $1.7 trillion.  The President completely ignores Social Security’s contribution to the deficit in the coming years. 

“Most disappointing is that the President no longer believes tax relief is important to protect our economic recovery.  In December of last year, the President said extending the Bush-era tax cuts ‘will spur our private sector to create millions of new jobs, and add momentum that our economy badly needs.’

“Less than five months later, the President’s framework proposes historic tax increases on the very segment of our economy on which we are depending to create those new jobs. 

“This is not just a political flip-flop.  It’s a reversal that will create greater instability in our economy and threaten to turn around the small gains we’ve made in employment. 

“Republicans in Congress have submitted dozens of ideas to reduce our deficit, balance our budget, restrain spending, and create jobs.  Many of us stand willing to work with the President and together make the difficult choices to put the country on a fiscally responsible path. 

“The President has proposed only symbolic spending ‘cuts’ and higher taxes for Americans.  His speech today shows he is simply not serious about real deficit reduction.”