Tuesday, April 12, 2011

TOP STORY >> Trillions in budget cuts seen

Leader executive editor

Second District Rep. Tim Griffin (R-Ark.) says spending cuts agreed to over the weekend to avert a government shutdown must be the first step in cutting trillions of dollars from the federal budget.

“We’re going to talk about cutting trillions, not billions,” the freshman congressman told a Little Rock Air Force Base Community Council luncheon Monday at the Jacksonville Community Center.

Budget negotiators late Fri-day agreed to cut $38.5 billion from the 2011 budget, setting the stage for new negotiations for cuts in the 2012 budget in coming weeks.

Griffin supports a budget plan proposed by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, calling for $6.2 trillion in cuts over the next decade.

Ryan said his plan would balance the budget in 2040.

Griffin called the weekend budget agreement “the largest spending cut in American history in terms of dollars.”

After the budget deal, Griffin said in a press release, “Last year, Washington was talking about how much to spend. Now, Washington is talking about how much to cut. That cultural shift alone is a major victory.”

He said the deal “fully funds the military through the end of the year, and averts the economic disruption, uncertainty and expense that would have resulted from a shutdown.”

“Soon, we will begin work on next year’s budget and that will give us the opportunity to make even greater, more significant reforms as we deal with trillions in spending cuts, not billions,” Griffin said.

The congressman called for significant reductions in 2012 from this year’s $3.5 trillion budget.

Griffin said people who are 55 and older would not be affected by proposed Medicare cuts. But Democrats say if Ryan’s plan is adopted, future retirees on Medicare would pay $12,510 per year, making them responsible for more than two thirds of the cost of their health coverage.

Griffin insists that the GOP spending plan makes sense in the face of rising debt, which is now $14.1 trillion, or $45,484 for every man, woman and child.

The U.S. this year added about $4.1 billion to the debt every day with $4 billion a week in interest. “This is truly the big battle of our time,” Griffin told community council members