Contrary to prior statements Barack Obama made to John Boehner, the president now apparently does believe that the United States has a spending problem.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday:
Of course, the president believes that we have a spending problem. The fact of the matter is, we need to reduce our healthcare costs. Funnily enough, recognizing that fact, the president took action to do just that through the Affordable Care Act, which has been scored by the CBO to significantly reduce our healthcare costs going forward.
Carney added that “we need to do more” to curb spending.
It’s true that the CBO said last week that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) might be slowing down health care costs. Federal healthcare spending for 2013 is projected to be 15% less than 2012. However, this is the fourth year in a row that federal healthcare spending has declined, and the ACA is only now going into effect.
It didn’t matter; Carney was able to use the CBO’s projection to Obama’s advantage.
The whole scenario began with a Wall Street Journal article which quoted John Boehner relating that Obama had told him during fiscal cliff negotiations that “we don’t have a spending problem.”
Pelosi, eager to echo her leaders sentiments as quickly as she could, blurted out, “It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem. We have a budget deficit problem that we have to address.”
GOP blowback immediately followed, with Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) (R-N.H.) retorting “this is the attitude that has the U.S. 16 [trillion dollars] in debt.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) (R-Utah) Tweeted at Pelosi, saying her statement was “unbelievable” on Twitter.