White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew appeared on all five Sunday talk shows yesterday to defend the budget President Obama will release today. On two of those shows, CNN’s State of the Union and NBC’s Meet the Press, Lew flat out lied about the Democrats’ failure to pass a budget since Obamacare became law.
First on Meet the Press, David Gregory asked: “Here’s a stat that a lot of people may not know, but it’s pretty striking. The number of days since Senate Democrats passed a budget is 1,019. Can you just explain as a former budget director, how do you fund the government when there’s no budget?”
Lew replied: “Well, you know, one of the things about the United States Senate that I think the American people have realized is that it takes 60, not 50 votes to pass something. And there has been Republican opposition to anything that Senate Democrats have tried to do.”
Later on CNN, Candy Crowley asked, “I want to read for our viewers something that Sen. Harry Reid, the Democrat Majority Leader in the U.S. Senate, who said, ‘We do not need to bring a budget to the floor this year. It’s done, we don’t need to do it.’”
Lew replied: “He’s not saying that they shouldn’t pass a budget. But we also need to be honest. You can’t pass a budget in the Senate of the United States without 60 votes and you can’t get 60 votes without bipartisan support. So unless… unless Republicans are willing to work with Democrats in the Senate, Harry Reid is not going to be able to get a budget passed.”
Both Crowley and Gregory let Lew’s statement go by unchallenged. It fell to ABC News‘ Jake Tapper to fact check the White House. He reported, “That’s not accurate. Budgets only require 51 Senate votes for passage, as Lew — former director of the Office of Management and Budget — surely must know. White House officials did not dispute that Lew misspoke. When asked about the discrepancy, a White House official said ‘the chief of staff was clearly referencing the general gridlock in Congress that makes accomplishing even the most basic tasks nearly impossible given the Senate Republicans’ insistence on blocking an up or down vote on nearly every issue.’”
Maybe if Lew had made this statement on just one program, it would be believable that he “misspoke.” The fact that he made the statement on two programs, and that he is the former director of the Office of Management and Budget, shows that he both knew his statement was false, and he intended to make the false statement. This is not the first time Lew has made questionable factual statements about the budget. Last year, Lew also told the public: “Our budget will get us, over the next several years, to the point where we can look the American people in the eye and say we’re not adding to the debt anymore; we’re spending money that we have each year, and then we can work on bringing down our national debt.” The White House made similar statements repeatedly.
This is also flat out false. The Congressional Budget Office found that Obama’s budget: 1) Never saw an annual deficit below $748 billion; 2) Doubled the debt in ten years; and 3) Saw annual interest payments on the debt approach $1 trillion. This administration simply cannot be trusted on the federal budget.
Maine: Ron Paul is refusing to concede the Maine caucuses, which Mitt Romney currently leads 39 percent to 36 percent. Washington County, where Paul had expected to perform well, delayed their caucus until February 18th due to a snowstorm.
Santorum: Rick Santorum accused Mitt Romney of rigging this Saturday’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw-poll, which Romney won 38 percent to 31 percent. “You reach a point where desperate people do desperate things,” Santorum said on CBS’s Face the Nation.
Around the Bigs
The Wall Street Journal, Budget to Call for Taxes on Wealthy: President Obama on Monday will propose a multi-trillion-dollar U.S. government budget that seeks to spur job creation by imposing higher taxes on the rich Monday.
The Washington Examiner, Democrats squirm over bill to end energy subsidies: Democrat promises to end corporate welfare will be put to the test by the “Energy Freedom and Economic Prosperity Act,” which ends tax credits for all types of energy companies – both fossil fuel and renewable.
USA Today, Bishops, Obama in church-state faceoff over birth control: President Obama’s efforts to accommodate religious leaders by pretending to alter his administration’s rule on birth control coverage has not appeased First Amendment objectors.
The New York Times, Greek Parliament Passes Austerity Plan as Riots Rage: After violent protests left dozens of buildings aflame in Athens, the Greek Parliament voted early Monday to approve austerity measures demanded by the country’s foreign lenders in exchange for new loans to keep Greece from defaulting on its debt.
The Wall Street Journal, Chávez Opponent Surges in Venezuela: Henrique Capriles, a 39-year-old governor, former legislator and mayor, will be facing off against President Hugo Chavez this October after winning a landslide primary victory Sunday.
Power Line‘s John Hinderaker posts the slide from a presentation he recently omade on “Corporate Cronyism in the age of Obama.”
At The Corner, The Heritage Foundation’s Ed Haislmaier and Jennifer Marshall note that, despite all President Obama’s claims about accommodating religious believers, the actual regulation entered into the Federal Register Friday is the EXACT SAME is at was when it was first introduced. In other words, Obama made zero changes to the policy.
The Weekly Standard‘s Bill Kristol wonders if the new Obamacare mandate fight could reinvigorate the Tea Party.
Talking Points Memo reports that Sen. Roy Blunt, R-Mo., has introduced a bill that will allow any employer not to offer a health care plan that pays for birth control.
ThinkProgress reports that Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., became the 7th Democratic senator to back the Keystone XL pipeline this weekend.
Mother Jones‘ Kevin Drum notes that the labor market is still not as good as the top line unemployment numbers make it seem.