The Hill: Freshman senator, former budget director critcizes Obama spending levels

March 28, 2011 | Portman Difference

President Obama ducked tough choices in his budget, leaving it to Republicans to advance a more fiscally responsible path, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said Saturday.

Portman, the freshman senator who previously served as the director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for President George W. Bush, used the weekly Republican radio address to hammer Obama on his budget and spending.

"Instead of making the tough choices all Americans know are necessary to get our fiscal house in order and strengthen our economy, the president's budget locks in the higher levels of spending over the past two years and doubles the national debt," Portman said.

The Ohio senator renewed GOP criticism of the president, saying that the spending of the past two years had failed, and, "It’s time to change course."

The criticism comes before lawmakers return to Washington next week to hammer out some agreements on spending in order to stave off a government shutdown at the end of the week.

The federal government runs out of money on March 4, and the Republican House and Democratic Senate will have to agree on legislation to continue funding the government. Both sides showed signs of coming together on a short-term measure on Friday, though no deal had been struck.

"Having chosen to duck the tough choices for the coming year and beyond, the president and Democrats in Congress are now objecting to any reductions in spending Congress can control in the current budget year," Portman said of that fight, which precedes a whole new fight on next year's budget.