I’ve already mentioned several times that Obama’s proposed budget is primarily about creating a fight with not just Congressional Republicans, but all Republicans. More proof
(Politico) Obama is using the budget to challenge Republicans on middle-class issues, as well as national security funding. He made his budget pitch during a visit to the Department of Homeland Security, where he warned Republicans that they’ll undermine the nation’s security and hurt the federal workers who work at those agencies — including the Border Patrol, airport screeners, law enforcement officials, the Coast Guard and the Secret Service — if they don’t send him a “clean” funding bill that doesn’t try to block his immigration executive actions.
“Don’t jeopardize our national security over this disagreement,” Obama said. “These Americans aren’t just working to keep us safe – they have to take care of their own families. The notion that they would get caught up in a disagreement around policy that has nothing to do with them makes no sense.”
Obama said the sequestration cuts have been bad for economic growth and national security, and warned: “I’m not going to accept a budget that locks in sequestration going forward … I will not accept a budget that severs the vital link between our national security and our economic security.”
That kind of rhetoric from Obama, particularly the “I’m not going to accept…”, is language designed to create strife, not language designed to come to agreement.
Republicans wasted no time rejecting Obama’s budget. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called it “another top-down, backward-looking document that caters to powerful political bosses on the Left and never balances—ever.” House Speaker John Boehner said it “would impose new taxes and more spending without a responsible plan to honestly address the big challenges facing our country.”
And Senate Budget Committee Chairman Mike Enzi and House Budget Committee Chairman Tom Price, in a joint statement, declared that “a proposal that never balances is not a serious plan for America’s fiscal future.”
Here’s what Republicans should do: don’t say anything about Obama’s proposed budget (which was on time for a first), other than that they will take a look at it in committee. Do not allow themselves to get into the partisan fight Obama desperately wants. And then, while they would be tempted to simply table the budget, instead, take it, tear it apart, keep the normal budget stuff, perhaps raising some and lowering others, along with ideas they can agree with, and strip out all the poison pills. Then put it up for a vote. If Obama and Democrats complain, simply say “hey, most of these ideas and funding measures are Obama’s idea. Is he complaining about his own ideas?” Turn it around.
But don’t get caught in the fight Obama wants. You can’t win. Not when he has the presidential bully pulpit and the majority of the U.S. media behind him.