By Roger Larsen
HURON — An administration budget unveiled this week extends the current tax and spend policy and will never balance, Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., said Thursday.
“I continue to believe our country has a spending problem, not a tax problem,” she said in a conference call with reporters.
She said President Obama’s plan takes more money out of the hands of taxpayers and into Washington, D.C., coffers to spend. Like the Senate version, it makes it more difficult for the economy to grow, she said.
Noem said the House budget, on the other hand, would put the country back on the road to fiscal responsibility. It brings spending down to a reasonable level, she said.
South Dakota families and businesses balance their budgets every year, she said.
“It’s time for the federal government to do this as well,” Noem said.
Unveiled Wednesday, the president’s budget proposal projects deficit reductions of $1.8 trillion over 10 years, achieved with higher taxes, reductions in payments to Medicare providers and cutbacks in the cost-of-living adjustments paid to millions of recipients in Social Security and other government programs.
The budget is disliked by those on both sides of the political aisle. Republicans don’t want higher taxes and Democrats oppose cuts to Social Security benefits.
While the president’s proposal does start the discussion on entitlements, Noem said she’s also concerned about tax increases and a lack of meaningful spending reductions.
Obama also seeks to cut areas critical to South Dakotans like the federally impacted school district program and energy assistance for low-income people, she said.
Republicans want to see reforms to entitlement programs to save them, she said.
“If we don’t do anything to these programs like Medicare and Medicaid, they’re not going to be around in the future,” she said.
Meanwhile, Noem is co-sponsor of a bill that gives private sector employers the opportunity to voluntarily offer cash or paid time off to compensate for working overtime.
Asked about the gun control debate a day after two senators announced a bipartisan deal to expand background checks to more gun buyers, Noem said House Speaker John Boehner has not indicated what he may schedule for members to consider. In the meantime, she said people are waiting to see what a bill would look like when it gets to the Senate floor.
“We certainly are watching that and waiting to see how that debate ends up,” she said.
But she also said she thinks federal laws already on the books should be enforced, and that the Wednesday proposal by Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., and Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., would not have stopped any of the tragic shootings.
The way to keep families safe is to work to enforce current laws and not create more, she said.
With Sen. Tim Johnson’s recent announcement he is not seeking re-election in 2014, speculation on who might enter next year’s Senate race in what is now a key state in terms of future control of the chamber has begun.
A reporter asked Noem about her political plans.
“I haven’t made any decisions yet; we’ve been pretty busy out here,” she said.
It’s hasn’t been that long since her November re-election and the 2014 primary is still more than a year away, she said.
“I believe I’ve got time here yet to consider that,” Noem said.
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