In Q&A Session, Rep. Hensarling Falsely Asserts Democrats Are At Fault For The Deficit

January 30, 2010 12:10 pm ET

During a January 29, 2010 question and answer session between House Republicans and President Obama, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) falsely claimed Democrats are to blame for the growing deficit.

Rep. Hensarling Misrepresents Republicans' History With The Deficit

REP. JEB HENSARLING: And since that budget was ignored, what were the old annual deficits under Republicans have now become the monthly deficits under Democrats. The national debt has increased 30 percent.

Now, Mr. President, I know you believe -- and I understand the argument; I respect the view -- that the spending is necessary due to the recession. Many of us believe, frankly, it's part of the problem, not part of the solution, but I understand and I respect your view.

But this is what I don't understand, Mr. President. After that discussion, your administration proposed a budget that would triple the national debt over the next 10 years. Surely you don't believe 10 years from now we will still be mired in this recession. It proposed new entitlement spending and moved the -- the cost of government to almost 24.5 percent of the economy.

Now, very soon, Mr. President, you're due to submit a new budget and my question . . .

OBAMA: Jim (sic), I know there's a question in there somewhere, because you're making a whole bunch of assertions, half of which I disagree with.

(Laughter)

And I'm having to sit here listening to them. At some point, I know you're going to let me answer.

HENSARLING: That's . . .

OBAMA: All right.

HENSARLING: That's the question.

You are soon to submit a new budget, Mr. President. Will that new budget, like your old budget, triple the national debt and continue to take us down the path of increasing the cost of government to almost 25 percent of our economy? That's the question, Mr. President. [Washington Post, 1/29/10]

Republicans Put Us In This Fiscal Mess

Note: The FY 2009 deficit was $1.4 trillion.

Before Obama Took Office, The FY 2009 Deficit Was Projected At $1.2 Trillion. According to the Washington Times: "President-elect Barack Obama vowed Wednesday to tackle Social Security and Medicare spending as this year's deficit was projected to reach $1.2 trillion and with Congress preparing to run that figure even higher with its economic recovery package. [...] The Congressional Budget Office announced a projected fiscal 2009 deficit of $1.2 trillion even if Congress doesn't enact any new programs."  The paper added: "About the only person who was silent on the deficit projection was Mr. Bush, who took office facing a surplus but who saw spending balloon and the country notch the highest deficits on record." [Washington Times, 1/8/09; emphasis added]

Government Spending Sharply Increased Under Republican-Controlled Congress

  • 1995: The Federal Government Spent $1.5 Trillion When Republicans Gained Control of Congress.  In 1995, when Republicans gained control of congress, the federal government's outlays were $1,560,600,000. [2008 Economic Report of the President, accessed 4/14/09]
  • 2007: The Federal Government Spent $2.7 Trillion When Republicans Lost Control of Congress.  In 2007, when Republicans lost control of congress, the federal government's outlays were $2,730,200,000.  [2008 Economic Report of the President, accessed 4/14/09]

National Debt Doubled Under Republican President Bush

  • 2001: The National Debt Was $5.7 Trillion When President Bush Assumed Office.  On January 19, 2001, the day before President Bush was sworn in as President, the national debt was $5,727,776,738,304.64. [U.S. Treasury Department, accessed 4/14/09]
  • 2009: The National Debt Was $10.6 Trillion When President Bush Left Office.  On January 20, 2009, the day before President Obama was sworn in as President, the national debt was $10,626,877,048,913.08. [U.S. Treasury Department, accessed 4/14/09]
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