WASHINGTON -- More tough talk from Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers today.
The House Republican Conference chairwoman disputed any suggestion the GOP was engaging in irresponsible threats by acknowledging its willingness to shut down the government over federal spending policies. Instead, she said it’s President Barack Obama’s position that should be seen as troubling.
“He said it would be irresponsible and absurd to shut down,” McMorris Rodgers said in a phone interview. “I would say that it’s irresponsible and absurd for the president to want another blank check.”
McMorris Rodgers hinted over the weekend a shutdown might be needed to force Obama to consider cuts to federal programs. She said Tuesday no one in Washington wants to see that happen, but “we need to get serious about cutting spending, and the president says we don't have a spending problem.”
The congresswoman said she hadn't seen the president's news conference Monday, in which he said he would not permit House Republicans to charge a “ransom” in refusing to raise debt ceiling in an attempt to address spending cuts.
But McMorris Rodgers, who represents Spokane and much of Eastern Washington, said the time has come to address America's mounting debt.
“What got us to this point is too much spending by both parties,” McMorris Rodgers said. “But especially in recent years we've seen record deficits, and we need to be rolling back Obama's spending increases.”
The Treasury Department reported a federal deficit of $1.1 trillion in fiscal 2012, the fourth straight year with a deficit higher than $1 trillion. However, the deficit shrunk $207 billion, or roughly 16 percent, from the year prior, thanks in part to higher corporate tax receipts and decreased spending as a share of GDP.