Rep. Hastings Omits The GOP's Fiscal Failures In Order To Blame President Obama For Budget Deficit

May 28, 2009 1:36 pm ET

On May 28, 2009, Rep. Doc Hastings released the text of a speech he gave in his district the day before. In it, he claimed Republicans drove down the budget deficit and "President Obama has thrown that record out the window" - and justifies this wholly untrue claim by pretending Republicans were model stewards of the federal budget.

Rep. Hastings Falsely Claims President Obama Caused The Enormous Budget Deficit He Actually Inherited

Rep. Hastings: "Congress ran a budget surplus for three years in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Then what happened? At the end of President Clinton's office we went through a mild recession.  That took its toll. Next came 9/11, and our nation needed to respond to enemies who attacked our country and killed our friends and neighbors. We ramped up defense spending, created the Department of Homeland Security, and thankfully have not been attacked again since that fateful September morning. Even with all of that on our plates, the largest annual deficit during that time was a little over $400 billion. We undertook budget cutting measures, grew our economy, and reduced that deficit to about $180 billion at the end of 2007. President Obama has thrown that record out the window. He is acting like someone on a diet who falls off the wagon and eats a couple of potato chips.  But instead of going for a walk to get rid of the extra calories, President Obama has instead decided to sit down and eat the rest of the bag." [Hastings Speech, posted 5/28/09]

In January 2009, When Obama Took Office, The Projected Deficit Was $1.2 Trillion. According to the Washington Post: "Those costs, combined with falling tax collections, are expected to drive the deficit to $1.2 trillion this year, or 8.3 percent of the overall economy -- the largest budget gap as a percentage of gross domestic product since 1945. Next year's deficit is projected to drop to 4.9 percent of the economy, or $703 billion." [, 1/8/09]

Policies Under Bush And A Republican-Controlled Congress Drove The Budget Deficit To Historic Proportions. According to Fox News: "White House officials said the increase from February's $407 billion projection for the coming year is due largely to a worse economy as well as higher-than-expected costs from the $168 billion economic stimulus package passed by Congress earlier this year [...] The new figure actually underestimates the deficit, since it leaves out about $80 billion in war costs. In a break from tradition - and in violation of new mandates from Congress - the White House did not include its full estimate of war costs. White House press secretary Dana Perino had no comment on the new outlook figure. But she told reporters that the White House and lawmakers acknowledged months ago that they were going to increase the deficit by approving a short-term boost for the slumping economy. 'Both parties recognized that the deficit would increase, and that that was going to be the price that we pay,' Perino said. Officials said revenues are holding up better than officials hoped for the current year: With costs running about $10 billion lower than expected, the budget deficit is expected to be less than $400 billion at the end of the fiscal year this September. The deficit for 2007 totaled $161.5 billion, which represented the lowest amount of red ink since an imbalance of $159 billion in 2002. The 2002 performance marked the first budget deficit after four consecutive years of budget surpluses. That stretch of budget surpluses represented a period when the country's finances had been bolstered by a 10-year period of uninterrupted economic growth, the longest period of expansion in U.S. history. In his first year in office, helped considerably by projections of continuing surpluses, Bush drove through a 10-year, $1.3 trillion package of tax cuts. However, the country fell into a recession in March 2001 and government spending to fight the war on terrorism contributed to pushing the deficit to a record in dollar terms in 2004. House Budget Committee Chairman John Spratt, D-S.C., said the deficit projection confirms 'the dismal legacy of the Bush administration: under its policies, the largest surpluses in history have been converted into the largest deficits in history.'" [, 7/28/08]

National Debt Mushroomed Under Republican Control

1995: The National Debt Was $4.8 Trillion When Republicans Gained Control of Congress.  On January 4, 1995, the day Republicans gained control of congress, the national debt was $4,801,793,426,032.89. [U.S. Treasury Department, accessed 4/14/09]

2007: The National Debt Was $8.6 Trillion When Republicans Lost Control of Congress.  On January 4, 2007, the day Republicans lost control of congress, the national debt was $8,670,596,242,973.04. [U.S. Treasury Department, accessed 4/14/09]