Politics

Congressional GOP slam Obama sloganeering, accuse president of slow march to Election Day

Paul Ryan talks about the flaws of Obama's upcoming campaign.

 

President Obama's claims of wanting to give people a fair shot, make everyone do their fair share and have everyone play by the same set of rules may be the making of a great slogan, but his policies will lead to "debt, doubt and decline," a top Republican said Sunday.

House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., said that Obama uses the rhetoric of the right to make a case about fairness and equality, but produces policies that lead to "crony capitalism" and result in giving the government more power. 

"The outcome of these policies is to consolidate power in Washington where you have crony capitalism, which his rhetoric tries to decry," Ryan told "Fox News Sunday." "The president isn't leading. The president isn't being truthful with the American people about what kind of fiscal train wreck is coming."

The president's top campaign adviser countered that Republicans refuse to ask those more able to pay for critical programs to contribute more to the general good.

"We have to have a balanced way forward when the Republican Party is willing to step forward, the Republicans in Congress and say let's do this together in a balanced way. Let's protect the key investments we need to grow and yet cut and ask a little more from people who can afford it and willing to do it," said Obama senior adviser David Axelrod.

Several Republicans fanned out Sunday ahead of the congressional work week to denounce the president's policies, enunciated during the State of the Union, but unlikely to win passage. The stalemate, however, does set the table for a nasty debate unfolding amid Obama's reelection effort.

"The president (wants to) double down on the same failed policies that have not worked. As a matter of fact, they have made the economy worse, higher taxes, more spending, more regulation," said House Speaker John Boehner.

Ryan said Obama has no plan to tackle the nation's weighty debt and isn't even planning to include his own tax reform proposals in the budget he will submit to Congress next month.

"What we have learned with the president time and again is he is going to put some kind of poll-tested line in the State of the Union address and have no follow-up whatsoever," Ryan said. "We have learned already that the president who's had three years to try and propose real solutions to fix our fiscal crisis is ducking it. He hasn't put a plan on the table yet. He formed commissions and super committees, so he sort of outsourced the leadership only to decry their results."

But Axelrod said while Republicans may think the president isn't offering any big-idea solutions, he has proposed transforming the education system, reviving American manufacturing and getting control of "our energy future."

"The truth is the Republicans are not offering ideas to deal with our economic challenges. They want to go back to the same ideas that were in place in the last decade," Axelrod said.

Saying the president has already authorized $2 trillion in deficit cuts, Axelrod said revenues must be a part of the equation, which Republicans refuse to consider. He added that millionaires may be playing by the rules when they file their taxes and up with an effective percentage rate that is lower than the middle class, but he said the rules are not right.

"If we're going to solve this deficit, then everybody is going to have to give a little, and that includes people at the top," Axelrod said. 

With so much disagreement over who should pay, how much they should pay and what the revenues should be spent on, one of the few items that lawmakers will likely pass and get to the president's desk this year is a payroll tax cut.

But that one line item alone is cause for disagreement.

"There's broad agreement on doing the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year. Republicans, Democrats agree on that," said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. "The problem is the paying for it."

McConnell said to cover the payroll tax cut, the government must spend less. But he said the administration refuses, instead pursuing programs that aren't working and then blaming someone else when they fail.

Democrats want to "pretend like the president just showed up yesterday, just got sworn in and started fresh. In fact, he's been in office three years. He got everything he wanted from a completely compliant congress for two of those three years," he said.

"This election will unquestionably be a referendum on his performance. And he owned the government the first two years ... there's no mistaking, we are living in the Obama economy," McConnell said.

With few other items on the table this year, Boehner said the U.S. Senate already has 27 bills aimed at reviving the economy sent over by the House. Many of those ideas the president's jobs council has endorsed, he said. 

Ryan added that a bipartisan consensus is emerging in the House to fix big problems like Medicare, one of the major drivers of the debt and about 20 percent of the federal government's spending. He said Democrats also agree on tax reforms that "get the loopholes out, lower the rates."

"The problem is the president and his party leaders are out on the left standing in the sidelines looking in. So, what we clearly need is a new White House and a new Senate and then we can realize this emerging bipartisan consensus on how to fix these problems," he said.

One idea that the president has put on hold -- the Keystone XL pipeline -- will be the next item the House delivers, Boehner said. 

"If it's not enacted before we take up the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act, it will be part of it," Boehner said.

Axelrod appeared on NBC's "Meet the Press," Boehner was on ABC's "This Week" and McConnell spoke on CNN's "State of the Union."