Boehner, Obama Spar Over Budget, ‘Doc Fix’

Posted June 12, 2010 at 5:00am

President Barack Obama used his weekly radio address to urge Senate Republicans to stop blocking a vote on Medicare reimbursements — a proposal the GOP has opposed because of its increases to the budget.
Meanwhile, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) bashed Democrats for foot-dragging in passing a budget and, by extension, criticized Obama for not pressing his party to get it done.

Obama lamented that while a majority of Congress supports passing legislation that would prevent a 21 percent pay cut for doctors who see Medicare patients, some GOP Senators are threatening to block a vote on the issue. Congress has been regularly deferring the cuts from going into effect since 2003.

“After years of voting to defer these cuts, the other party is now willing to walk away from the needs of our doctors and our seniors,” the president said.

Obama said he recognizes that kicking the cuts down the road another year is not a long-term solution, but until there is one, Congress must act in the short term to prevent the cuts from taking effect next week.

“I’m absolutely willing to take the difficult steps necessary to lower the cost of Medicare and put our budget on a more fiscally sustainable path. But I’m not willing to do that by punishing hardworking physicians or the millions of Americans who count on Medicare. That’s just wrong,” he said.

Boehner said the fact that Democrats haven’t produced a budget yet “is a stunning failure of leadership — the kind of leadership President Obama promised to provide.” He accused Democrats of being too “busy making backroom deals” to pass a budget this year.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has maintained that Democrats are working on their budget resolution, but even some in her party have signaled that it may be a heavy lift in an already rough election year.

Boehner called it “equally troubling” that Obama hasn’t “uttered a word in protest” about Democrats not producing a 2011 budget. He warned that if the president isn’t going to hold Congressional Democrats accountable for producing it, “then the American people will.”

The House Minority Leader pointed to two GOP web initiatives — America Speaking Out and YouCut — aimed at giving constituents a chance to pitch their ideas for spending cuts.

“Republicans are providing Americans with a megaphone to make their voices heard and help build a better, more responsive government,” he said.