In a hearing Thursday of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-Tn.) pressed the Obama administration’s Office of Management and Budget (OMB) on entitlement reform, questioning a top official on why there is “no plan from the president” to deal with the mandatory entitlement spending that Senator Alexander argued is the primary driver of the nation’s spending crisis.
“Why hasn't the president done that?” Senator Alexander asked Danny Werfel, Federal Controller of the OMB. “He is the president of the United States – he is supposed to lead.”
The hearing was about the upcoming “sequester,” a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts that will take effect if the president and Congress do not act.
Senator Alexander continued: “I go back 30 years as governor, when I was sitting there trying to put more money into higher education and federally mandated Medicaid was soaking up money that I’d like to put in higher education.
“What I would like, respectfully, to see from the president is a plan to do what his own debt commission said we needed to do.”
Senator Alexander, a senior member of the committee, said, “Senator Corker and I put on the table a $1 trillion plan to reduce entitlement spending. Why hasn't the president done that?”
Senator Alexander was referring to the “Dollar-for-Dollar Act,” he has introduced with fellow Tennessee Republican Sen. Bob Corker, which would reduce growth in entitlement spending by $1 trillion.