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January 25, 2010
Obama may announce spending freeze
You've probably been wondering what the Obama Administration's tactical response will be to the stunning victory of Republican Scott Brown in the Massachusetts special election. Indiana Senator Evan Bayh (D) told Bloomberg Television there is a "fighting chance" the President will call for a discretionary spending freeze with the threat of veto enforcement in his upcoming State of the Union speech.
"The president can say in this State of the Union address, ‘I'm going to include in my budget a freeze on discretionary spending, I'm drawing a line in the sand, and I'm going to use my veto pen to enforce that...'"
...Bayh, 54, said that while he wasn't certain the president would make such a call, "I think that there's a fighting chance that he will."
Bloomberg also reports that Bayh "expects" that Obama will call on Congress to establish a new commission responsible for suggesting spending cuts and tax increases on which Congress would then have to vote. However, Bayh, who has reportedly met with Timothy Geithner, Vice President Biden and others to discuss the commission, doubted that Congress would actually enact it. If this is the case, Bayh believes an executively establish commission will be the outcome.
[Bayh] said that as a result, he expects Obama to "then come forward with an executive commission which is not as good, but is at least there's a step in the right direction."
If such calls do emerge, they would constitute a dramatic shift to the right for Obama, echoing policies proposed by John McCain during the 2008 presidential campaign. It is difficult to doubt that such maneuvers would be a direct response to the senate election in Massachusetts. If Bayh is correct, the announcement of these measures would be Obama's first recognition of the discontent of the majority of Americans, who increasingly views their President as a profligate spender and sponsor of policies that are out of touch with economic and political reality.