New York and the New Budget

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Copies of the administrations 2012 Budget proposal at the Senate Budget Committee on February14, 2011 in Washington, DC. (Mark Wilson/Getty)

Welcome to Politics Bites, where every afternoon at It's A Free Country, we bring you the unmissable quotes from the morning's political conversations on WNYC. Today on The Brian Lehrer Show, Congressman Michael Grimm (R-NY 13) and Congressman Jerrold Nadler (D, NY-08) talks about the president's budget proposal, the House Republican's proposal, and what they both may mean for New York.

On Monday, President Obama offered up a budget proposal with deep cuts to services and community programs. While some Democrats took issue with the severity of the cuts, Republicans found them not deep enough. House Speaker John Boehner and the Republican majority have offered their own budget proposal, which intends to cut $100 billion in six months. Both parties' proposals have drawn fire, and not just from those outside the party.  

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler criticized the president's budget proposal, calling the cuts Draconian and the wrong response. Freshman Republican Rep. Michael Grimm, elected as part of a wave of fiscal reform that helped the GOP capture the House majority, broke with his party to criticize the cuts proposed by the House Speaker. Both agreed that budget proposals on the table will hurt New York.  

Rep. Grimm said he doesn’t disagree with the overall amount that Republicans want to cut, which is consistant with the number mentioned in the Republican's Pledge to America during the midterm campaign. Instead, he doesn't think they're fairly applied.

My concern is that it’s weighted too heavily to the northeast region, and my take on this is, yes, we need to cut. Yes, the entire country needs to share in that, and it needs to be fair and equitable throughout the entire country, not heavily weighted to the northeast as it is now.

Democratic Rep. Jerrold Nadler also took issue with the budget issued by his party leadership, saying that the president’s proposed budget will be too small. 

Right now, the problem is that we have very high unemployment…We should be not cutting discretionary spending right now...or flattening for a five years freeze, as the president’s proposing, or even worse, what the Republicans want to do, cut it beyond the bone. We should be giving aid to states and local governments so they don’t have to lay off thousands and thousands of people, so they don’t have to not hire private contractors to fill the potholes or build the schools or whatever, because that’s what’s holding up the economic recovery — a shortage of people willing and able to spend money which includes local governments, so the federal government right now ought to be stepping into that breach.

Grimm sent a letter to Speaker Boehner, asking him to reinstate $400 million for low-income heating assistance, $200 million in mass transit security, $150 million to Amtrak and an undisclosed amount for COPS law enforcement to fund 150 police officers for New York City. But he wouldn't go so far as to call Boehner and the Republican majority unsympathetic to the needs of urban areas or the mostly Democratic northeast. 

It’s easy to demonize someone when they’re cutting, because it hurts. Everyone is screaming for cuts because we have to stop the spending. But they just don’t want their program cut. That’s the political nightmare, if you will, for someone who does want to stand up and do the right thing for the country…It just shouldn’t be unfair and weighted too much on our side.

While Grimm may have issues with the Republicans' proposal, he is much more negative about the president's.

His proposal does three things that is a job-crushing, economy-busting thing. It taxes too much — $1.6  trillion in increased taxes. It spends way too much, you’re looking over ten years at $8.7 trillion more in spending. And it’s going to punish everyone across the board and at the same time it doesn’t reduce the deficit. Over ten years, he’s looking at $1.1 trillion, but this year’s deficit alone is $1.6. It’s disingenuous, it’s failure to lead, and I, for one, am very disappointed.

Nadler thinks that the president should focus on jobs before the deficit, as he believes increased employment will lead to more tax revenue and less spending.  

The first priority is to get people back to work and get the economy moving, that by itself will reduce the deficit more than anything else. We can worry about the deficit afterwards...Any time you reduce spending and you reduce the amount of money in circulation.. it goes against your goal of reducing unemployment.

The two Congressmen faulted the other’s party for the current crisis. Nadler pointed to three things that he says led the country into the red: the Bush tax cuts, two wars, and a lingering recession (ie, Republicans' fault). Grimm blamed the Democrats.

It’s very simple. We don’t have a budget to work off of. Why? Because the Democrats failed to pass a budget. So we’re working off a continuing resolution.

But both New York representatives agreed that the Republicans' proposed spending cuts would disproportionately hurt New Yorkers. Nader said it "murders things like mass transit that we are very dependant on." Grimm worried that Boehner's proposal doesn't account for New York's hightened security needs.

Unfortunately New York…  we’re the number one terror target, and keeping people safe, I‘ve always said this, is the government’s first job… There are many other programs through other regions that we can offset these cuts so that we can still maintain the $100 million dollars.

Ultimately, however, Grimm is pleased with the Republican party’s actions. 

Though I think it’s weighted a little too far to the northeast, overall, I’m very proud of my conference for taking this bold step, and it’s historic.

Nadler is less pleased with his party. He said that cuts of the size the president is proposing to nondiscretionary spending might bring devastating results and blames Republican pressures to cut services that Nadler thinks are critical to the country's future. 

It would be extremely destructive for the country… It’s absolutely crazy if you want this country a) to be healthy and b) to be competitive in the future… The current budget battle is an attempt by the Republicans to roll back everything that we have done in government since FDR, since the New Deal... It’s nonsense.

Listen to Rep. Michael Grimm on The Brian Lehrer Show:


Listen to Rep. Jerrold Nadler on The Brian Lehrer Show:



Michael Grimm and Jerrold Nadler


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Comments [43]

Shared sacrifice never includes the rich. from The Plutocracy formerly known as the U.S.A.

Shared sacrifice never includes the rich -
ever notice that ?

It's somehow ok for millions of American
citizens to lose their jobs, their careers,
their livelihoods.

It's somehow ok for millions of American
citizens to unjustly lose their homes - one
of the worst civil punishments that can happen to a person.

But if the wealthy who have unjustly gained
at most Americans' expense are even
asked to pay an equal share of the sacrifice - the airwaves quickly become
saturated without outraged cries from their
minions. The very wealthly pay a lower
percentage of their wealth in taxes than
most Americans. When the economy
imploded - largely due to their malfeasance
or incompetence - the rest of us are expected to suffer and sacrifice to bail them out. But if the Nation asks anything
from these plutocrats in return - for example help to avoid layoffs or toxic
foreclosures - or even new loans for
homes and small businesses or loan rates
that are not usuary - the plutocrats cry that even a drop of forebearance, mercy, social responsibility or enlightened self-interest will destroy proper incentive for us middle class citizens.

But why does this NEVER APPLY TO THEM ?

What about THEIR incentive never to let this happen again?

Why aren't they losing all their savings,
their careers, their homes ?

WHY does "shared sacrifice" never
include the rich ?

Maybe because now the Supreme Court
through "Citizens United" made it legal for the wealthy to buy elections.

People must serve the interest of our plutocrat-masters or they will lose their
position and be silenced.

When will this end ?
What has happened to our democracy ?

Feb. 15 2011 07:34 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

No politician dares tell the American people the truth. What is the truth? The truth is that since the mid-1970s, the rising American standard of living (bigger homes, bigger cars, bigger everything) was built on pure DEBT. For the last 35 years the economy had been built up on quicksand, and the only way out is Americans accepting a serious cut in their standard of living. That means, moving back from suburbia into compact cities, smaller cars, or fewer cars, and more public transportation, and less energy consumption. It's happening anyway through natural forces, but the politicians cannot tell the American people the truth about what is actually happening. That is, a shrinking standard of living down to a realistic and competitive size.

Feb. 15 2011 11:46 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

@ Brian from Hoboken

To "cut spending across the board" is to throw your hands up and exclaim " I GIVE UP". It offers the OPPOSITE of leadership. It's like the flat tax, sounds nice when you say it until you see that it means the wealthy pay less and the poor pay more .... The dems did screw up BIGTIME with the stupid new health care policies (which don't control costs, as Nadler pointed out) and the tax compromise but they still offer more intelligent ideas than the republicans, who are morally and intellectually bankrupt since abandoning their conservative roots. True conservatism offers a great deal of fiscally viable options for resolution of the Medicare/Medicaid debacle as well as our defense spending problems but the republicans are all about crony capitalism, NOT free market solutions.

Feb. 15 2011 11:46 AM
Brian from Hoboken

Both of these congressmen sound ridiculous. When are we going to realize that we have to cut spending across the board? The tax cut compromise that Obama made with the Republicans was garbage too. It is not a compromise if everyone gets what they want. It is a real compromise when everyone walks away unhappy. Changes to Medicare/Medicaid are necessary as well as Social Security (as a 35 year old I would like to maybe see a few cents on the dollar of what I am giving away to the older generations). At the same time we need to kill many defense boondoggles that get approved by Dems and Republicans alike (there is a reason Boeing spreads production in about 44 states of the union). When everyone is unhappy on Capital Hill I will know real progress is being made.

Feb. 15 2011 11:31 AM

When "shared sacrifice" is called for, notice how seldom those being sacrificed have a voice in who and what gets sacrificed?

EveryTHING may be on the table, as Obama likes to say, but not everyONE is at the table.

Nor their representatives.

Remember when "everything was on the table" concering Obama's health insurance profit protection plan?

Except that from the gitgo Obama took Medicare for All Improved (single payer) OFF the table. And then he would say Medicare for All could not be discussed was "off the table"!!

Feb. 15 2011 11:30 AM
dboy from nyc

Grimm vs. Krugman!

Arithmetic Throw-down!!!

I know, not really fair.

Feb. 15 2011 11:29 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

This is why no matter how much I hate on the dems I still can't claim that there is some sort of intellectual equivalence between the two parties - these two interviews are emblematic of that fact.

I defy anyone with even a shred of intellectual integrity to compare these two congressman in these two interviews specifically and claim that the Republicans have anything substantive to contribute other than bile and hyperbole - and in the latter case dumb, lily white ex G-men to awkwardly give voice to it.

Feb. 15 2011 11:29 AM

We need to "walk like Egyptians," and do it in huge, massive numbers. In numbers there is some safety.

Because in this country, I fear the authorities will get the police to use violence. And kettling is a well known tactic from back in 2003 in NYC, when people heading to a rally against the Iraq Invasion were bottled up on individual blocks on Third Avenue. Then each block was divided into quarters, with mounted police using their horses to force people into tighter and tighter, smaller and smaller spaces in each blocked off corner.

I will never forget the hysterical sobbing and wailing of a child caught toward the back in that kind of pressure. A few days later the deaths from crowd pressure of people at the nightclub in RI made clear just how dangerous such pressurized crowding is. But Bloomberg said it all OK, as did his police chief.

Do not expect the tolerance shown by the Egyptian army toward their people to be shown by our authorities!

Feb. 15 2011 11:26 AM
Juli from Skillman, NJ

Mr. Nadler:

At your convenience, please give Mr. Grimm a basic economics lesson.

Thank you for your assistance.

Feb. 15 2011 11:24 AM

ANYTHING A DEM PREZ says about going after SocSec and Medicare/Medicaid is scary. And WRONG.

Beginning in the early 1980's, with the o'Neill/Reagan agreement to increase payments and raise the retirement age resulted in 1) workers prepaying for the Baby Boom Bulge and 2) essentially lower lifetime SocSec payments for those downsized close to retirement age and unable to find new jobs.

So, people paid forward to cover the bulge; the Republicans kept cutting tax rates on the wealthy and there was redistribution of wealth from the lower and middle classes to the Uberwealthy; now, we're being sold a bill of goods that since the tax cuts created high deficits, the little people must pay and also suffer cuts in the social safety nets.

Way to go, Dems! Make like Republicans and mess over the little people. FDR chose to help the little people and take on the Uberwealthy. Not this Dem president.

We needed, many voter for, a 21st Century FDR. We got Hoover, and the Democratic Party brand image is being destroyed. The party is being destroyed.

BTW, why was it Obama gave the Republicans their tax cuts for the wealthy and even more than they dreamed they could get? Maybe because Obama is a...conservative?

Feb. 15 2011 11:17 AM
amalgam from Manhattan by day, NJ by night

Nice. Nadler takes head-on the fact that:

The US Federal government is not and cannot be run like a household or a business. Period

Feb. 15 2011 11:16 AM
Vinny from Manalapan, NJ

This guy is amazing. Not in a good way. Spewing talking points has gotten really old. What's more amazing is that all of those New York City cops who live in Staten Island, and voted this guy in, will be out of a job thanks to "Congressman Talking Points", as another listener so perfectly called him.

Feb. 15 2011 10:44 AM
Paul from Glen Cove

This is the beginning of unrest.. if politicians start to siphon off SS and Medicare/Medicaid. We earned/paid this money. We have a deficit, this kind of complacency should never have been allowed. If politicians can't uphold their oath at swearing in, they should be removed from office.

Feb. 15 2011 10:44 AM

The GOP "proposal" has no revenue growth in it. It's simply another robbery of the Treasury.

We're in a jobs depression. Without more people making more money, we'll never reduce the deficit because the cost of UI, public assistance, food stamps & public assistance will overwhelm our stressed states & cities.

The GOP wants to sink our future even further with their dumb cuts & deficit fearmongering.

Feb. 15 2011 10:32 AM
Tricia from Brooklyn

Glad this guy read this week's Republican Talking Points Memo. He was able to spout them, but unfortunately he failed to engage in your interview in any meaningful way. It is so frustrating to listen to the tired old "cut taxes!" as if that were the answer to all of our problems. Since he compares the US budget to a family's, does he think it makes sense for a family in financial distress to cut its income? Of course not, because it is not a useful analogy. I also found his protestations that he wasn't just trying to be partisan utterly laughable. He was like a caricature of a politician.

Feb. 15 2011 10:31 AM
Xtina from E. Village

Leave it to Brian Lehrer to give the 'fair and balanced' view by putting on the air a Republican that only the tiniest percentage of New Yorkers have any affinity with. And leave it to him to not ask the guy any hard questions - only the listeners can bring up these very smart and valid points and leave them on this comment page - UNADDRESSED.

Feb. 15 2011 10:31 AM
Al from Manhattan

Sarah Palin meets "the Situation"

Feb. 15 2011 10:27 AM
dboy from nyc

Grimm, indeed!

Feb. 15 2011 10:27 AM
AG from Brooklyn from Brooklyn, NY

Does Congressman Grimm realize that Hamas is a Palestinian political organization, and the Egyptians, therefore, cannot elect anyone from that party to lead Egypt? Republicans insist on attempting to stoke our fears.

Feb. 15 2011 10:26 AM
Xtina from E. Village

WRT to the ridiculous poll on the budget - why should Obama take the suggestions of the Budget Commission? Does anyone recall that it was voted DOWN? It didn't PASS? By the majority it was supposed to?
He should just ignore the Commission's vote, and take the suggestions of the two loudmouths that put themselves in charge, jumped the gun, and made their 'recommendations' before the report was released?

Feb. 15 2011 10:26 AM
Mark from Westchester

Please have Congressman Talking Points drop the boilerplate rhetoric and speak about what's real. And his comments about immigration are laughable- rather than educate our own children, he would import the best and brightest to study and stay here, lest our own kids get a hangnail opening a book.

Feb. 15 2011 10:26 AM
Jack Jackson from Central New Jersey

The GOP irresponsibly drove a budget that was in balance into deep, deep deficit and then after an uncontrolled rise in the price of gasoline caused homeowners to decide between paying the mortgage or commuting to work and caused the deepest recession since the Thirties...

Deficit spending during a recession is standard economic theory. Without an increase in public spending to offset some of the private spending contraction, we are all in for some pasta only dinners. If Mr. Grim doesn't appreciate that the increase in spending IS REQUIRED then he should take a good look in the mirror and ask himself why he didn't act to cut programs during the first ten years that the Tax Cuts were in place.

There is no easy answer but Mr. Grim's is the furthest from the truth that I have heard yet.

Feb. 15 2011 10:26 AM
dboy from nyc

Slack jawed hillbillies in NYC... who knew?!?!?!

Feb. 15 2011 10:24 AM
licnyc from queens

I still don't understand why any republican should have an ounce of credibility. Lets not forget who voted against 9/11 responders, who votes no on everything, who is the original party to run up the debt, etc. We can go on for hours. Doesn't matter what Grimm thinks, as fas as I am concerned his opinion is worthless. Its sad but republicans are total untrustworthy.

Feb. 15 2011 10:24 AM
CL from New York, NY

The comment that running a deficit is no way to run a business or a family or-- by extension-- a country is naive at best. This politician needs to study economics (and history). He's full of hot air.

Feb. 15 2011 10:24 AM
Juli from Skillman, NJ

The stimulus was not a failure. It saved a great number of jobs. Unemployment is a lagging economic indicator. We are still suffering from the recession that the Republicans placed us into from the early 2000's.

I am so sick of the Republican's constant batch of lies.

Feb. 15 2011 10:24 AM
Neal B. from Manhattan

When did Republicans scream for spending on infrastructure? Never. Come on Brian, call him on that lie.

Feb. 15 2011 10:23 AM

First of all, this Republican sounds like most Republican leaders these days, claiming he speaks for "American People." He was elected to represent people in his Congressional district only. Not me or many other Americans. Secondly, the GOP has not cut many of the programs that give tax breaks to industries that don't need them, such as the oil industry and ethanol production.

Feb. 15 2011 10:22 AM

bl why do u only put on angry republicats can't u fine someone sane to talk for the GOP?

Feb. 15 2011 10:22 AM
Mr. Bad from NYC

Dear god Grimm is dim, even for a politician. All these down home analogies and tired canards working on smart, sophisticated NY'ers? LOL, this city is as embarrassingly credulous as the rest of the "red state" country.

Feb. 15 2011 10:22 AM
Jason from Brooklyn

His focus is on "entitlements" but all the entitilements he mentioned are things the benefit mostly poor people. What about listing entitlements like the structure of capital gains tax, income tax deductions that mostly befefit the rich and the list goes on...

Feb. 15 2011 10:20 AM
Mark Munger from New York

hard to fact check in real time, but try to challenge this mix of distortion and inaccuracies in his assertions.....

Feb. 15 2011 10:20 AM

Why do Republicans insist on comparing how you run a government to how you run a home or a business? The government is neither. For starters homes and businesses can't print money and raise taxes.

And if they're so concerned about spending why haven't they suggested cutting wasteful defense and contractor spending, rather than the drops in the bucket they talk about. After all, that's what a home or business would do - cut the big ticket item.

Feb. 15 2011 10:19 AM
moo from manhattan

"we're morgaging our children's future! the deficit is eating us alive! now, tax cuts for the rich, please." whenever these repubs whine abou the deficit it makes me wanna puke. it's their perfect excuse to cut social services. um, who is out to hurt america?

american's care waaaay less about the deficit than they do about getting back on their feet right now.

Feb. 15 2011 10:18 AM
Katie Kennedy from Huntington, NY

What is ESSENTIAL, is that the rich step up and pay their fair share of taxes and don't put it on the backs of the middle class and poor. Sure, make the "tough cuts," but the gods forbid we return to the tax standards BB (before Bush). What hypocrits. Penny wise, pound foolish. Sacrifice our education, our infrastructure, but save the rich from taxes!

Feb. 15 2011 10:18 AM
Phil from Park Slope

As long as any discussion of military spending is totally off the table--even more taboo than slashing the entitlement progrms--all of these budget conversations are a complete farce, and totally dishonest. Either we're A) not dealing with a the budget emergency in a substantial way, or B) there isn't really an emergency. Which is it? Politicians and press who refuse to address this fact insult the intelligence of the American people.

Feb. 15 2011 10:18 AM

Please, Brian, ask Rep. Grimm why SocSec should be face these changes, when it is solvent? Now, Obama and the Republicans did work to weaken it by removing 2% of payments to it for this year (whassup with that?), BUT since the Tip O'Neill/Ronald Reagan agreement on SocSec, we have been paying extra to "pay forward" and prepare for the coming Baby Boomer bulge.

But, Republicans kept using those funds to pay for tax cuts to the, mostly, the wealthy. Again, whassup with that?

Feb. 15 2011 10:17 AM
Edward from NJ

Will Grimm and King vote against the budget if their concerns aren't dealt with?

Feb. 15 2011 10:15 AM

do we pay more taxes than other G7 citizens?

Feb. 15 2011 10:14 AM
RLewis from the bowery

So we're buildling airplanes that the air force doesn't want while we cut off the heat to poor people? If there is a god, he would be very sad.

Feb. 15 2011 10:14 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

Bravo, Grimm!!!

The Emperor has no clothes....and no ideas.

Feb. 15 2011 10:12 AM

This guy makes it sound as the the President is actually trying to ruin America. Chill out dude, just beacuse you didn't get everything you wanted doesn't mean it's evil.

Feb. 15 2011 10:12 AM

why not cut farm subsidies other aid to red states

Feb. 15 2011 10:08 AM

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