Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., suggested that White House chief of staff Jack Lew, who has been nominated to the post of Treasury Secretary, played spin doctor for President Obama’s reelection campaign by falsely claiming that Obama’s budget would pay down the debt.
“[Lew] continued to spin and repeat those misstatements and indeed the president was running ads on it in September right before the election, saying the same thing — that his budget paid down the debt — and it’s absolutely not true,” Sessions told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren last night.
“[Lew] knew exactly what he was doing,” Sessions added. “He should have told the President, ‘I cannot say that, Mr. President. I will not say that. I’d have to resign before I go out before the Committee and try to promote such an idea that our budget is going to pay down the debt.’”
Sessions was referring to Lew’s claim last year, during an appearance on CNN’s State of the Union, that Obama’s budget proposal “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.”
Outgoing Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner did not make the same claim, as Sessions recalls. “[Geithner] acknowledged that the president’s budget did not put us on a sustainable path,” the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee said.
“We’re not coming before you to say we have a definitive solution to our long-term problem,” Geithner said during a separate hearing before House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. “What we do know is we don’t like yours.”