Coats: Action on Debt Will Require Presidential Leadership
GOP senator faults Obama, praises House Republicans
Indiana Senator Dan Coats is calling last year his most frustrating in 19 years in Congress, because of the lack of action to bring the national debt under control.
Speaking before the Fishers Chamber of Commerce, Coats criticized President Obama for rejecting the prescriptions of both a bipartisan commission he appointed, and an informal coalition of 36 members of Congress from both parties. The Republican senator says it will take presidential leadership to push a deficit-control plan through, whether from Obama or a Republican successor.
Coats points to the example of President Ronald Reagan and Democratic House Speaker Tip O'Neill putting politics aside and assembling a commission to stabilize Social Security when the program appeared to be on the brink of going broke. Coats argues the national debt is equally urgent. He says the president and congressional leaders should emulate Governor Daniels or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and be willing to not only slash spending but explain to voters why they're doing it.
He stopped short of Daniels' chiding of the G-O-P presidential candidates for not putting those specifics forward now.
Coats embraces House Republicans' budget plan, which Democrats have faulted for cutting tax rates on the wealthiest Americans. Coats says he'd support wiping out some tax breaks and subsidies to bring in as much as a trillion dollars in revenue. But he maintains tax rates should go down, not up, to stimulate the economy.
And Coats says one of the most important facts about the G-O-P plan is that they have one. He complains the Democratic Senate hasn't produced or approved a budget in three years, while Obama's budgets have been rejected unanimously -- in the Senate last year and in the House this year.