Published January 29, 2013
Days after President Obama accused Fox News of holding up progress in Washington, another prominent Democrat is criticizing the network.
Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., suggested on the Senate floor that the non-entitlement spending problem is a creation of Fox News.
"I am not going to keep cutting the discretionary budget, which by the way is not out of control, despite what you hear on Fox News," she said.
The senator went on to say entitlement spending like Medicare is the issue -- while continuing to argue against steep cuts.
"It's mandatory spending that is rising rapidly. Because the greatest generation that gave us the greatest nation the world has ever heard is dying and they need hospice care, they need Social Security, they need hospitals. And if they want to cut them go right ahead -- I'm going to be a little more gentle," she said.
While it's true that the federal government spends far more on entitlements than on the rest of the budget, the so-called discretionary budget has risen steadily over the decades. Non-defense discretionary spending nearly doubled between 2000 and 2012, hitting roughly $610 billion in the most recent fiscal year. When defense spending is included, the budget rose from $615 billion in 2000 to $1.3 billion last year. The numbers, from the White House budget office, are not adjusted for inflation -- but the rise still far outpaces inflation, which amounts to a little more than 30 percent, over that period.
Over the years, that spending has been driven by two wars and a stimulus package but also routine agency spending.
Spending in 2012 was slightly lower than during the year prior.
Landrieu's Fox News lament comes after Obama, in an interview with The New Republic, said the media would play a big role in shaping debate in Washington. He went on to say: "If a Republican member of Congress is not punished on Fox News or by Rush Limbaugh for working with a Democrat on a bill of common interest, then you'll see more of them doing it."