Updated: U.S. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), a leading Senate conservative, Monday responded to the release of President Obama’s FY2012 budget with the following statement: “The release of this budget represents the continued failure of President Obama to take the nation’s fiscal crisis seriously.
"Submitting $3.73 trillion in spending of which $1.1 trillion is deficit spending lacks leadership and a true understanding of the problems we face. The proposed $1.6 trillion in tax increases are a detriment to our economic growth. Instead of using budget gimmicks and tax increases to shield the nation from the true fiscal problems, we need real spending cuts to reduce federal spending from the 24 percent increase enacted by Obama and the Democrats since 2008," Inhofe said.
“Instead of the five year freeze of non-security discretionary spending at the currently inflated levels as the President proposes, we must actually reduce spending. That is why I will re-introduce the Honest Expenditure Limitation Program (HELP) Act. The HELP Act cuts non-security discretionary spending back to the 2008 levels and freezes them there for ten years. While it will not solve all of our spending problems, it will use actual spending cuts to help address our deficits.
“Looking at this budget, it is clear that the president is committed to his big government social agenda. His $8.7 trillion in new spending is paid for in-part on the backs of our military through $80 billion in cuts at the Defense Department.
“On energy, his budget, with its $43.6 billion tax increase on fossil fuels, would raise the price at the pump for consumers already struggling to pay for gasoline while having a devastating impact on the oil and gas sector of Oklahoma’s economy. This is a key part of his cap-and-trade energy agenda, designed to tax the energy that consumers actually use in order to redirect federal funds to green energy," Inhofe added.
Following President Obama’s budget proposal, Inhofe re-introduced S. 360, the Honest Expenditures Limitation Program (HELP) Act of 2011. This legislation would cut non-security discretionary spending to 2008 levels and freeze them there for five years. It would result in nearly $1 trillion in savings over a 10 year period.
“The current spending trend under President Obama is irresponsible and unsustainable,” said Inhofe. “It is inconceivable that the budget he proposed this week would include another year of deficit spending at $1.65 trillion. Obviously, the White House lacks leadership on addressing our spending problems. ”
Inhofe continued, “My new HELP Act will offer a fiscally responsible step towards addressing our nation’s deficit spending and growing debt problems. With the support of many Congressional Democrats, President Obama has proposed a freeze of non-security discretionary spending at their current levels – after he has increased those amounts by more than twenty percent over the last two years. In order to save money, everyone knows you have to cut spending, not freeze in the higher spending levels. That is why the HELP Act cuts non-security discretionary spending back to 2008 levels and freezes it there. This would save roughly $1 trillion over a ten year period.”
FACTS ABOUT THE HELP ACT
- The proposal would cut discretionary spending at FY08 levels for all non-security appropriations, which excludes Defense, Homeland Security, State, Veterans Administration, and national security functions of the Energy Department.
- The spending freeze at the 2008 level would last for 5 years. Afterward, spending increases would be tied to the Consumer Price Index between 2017 and 2021.
- A 67-vote Point of Order in the Senate would be triggered by any appropriations bill that causes the total non-security discretionary cap to be breached. It would also be triggered by a provision in any legislation, amendment, or conference report that attempted to legislatively exempt new spending from sequestration.
- Spending for overseas military operations would be exempt from the cap.