ND delegation mostly critical of Obama’s 2012 budget proposal

FARGO – Members of North Dakota’s congressional delegation have some praises but mostly criticism to offer President Obama‘s 2012 budget proposal, which was sent to Congress on Monday for consideration.

Sen. Kent Conrad (D) | Sen. John Hoeven (R) | Rep. Rick Berg (R)

Obama said his proposal includes “tough choices we had to make so we can afford to invest in our future.” Those choices include moves to eliminate wasteful spending, cut unsuccessful programs and scale back even the successful programs in order to reduce the staggering national debt.

At the same time, though, Obama seeks to make good on a State of the Union pledge to revitalize the nation’s infrastructure and education system. For more on the president’s proposal, read this AP story on INFORUM.

North Dakota Democratic Sen. Kent Conrad said he was pleased about parts of Obama’s budget proposal – specifically those that support investment in local flood control projects and military operations.

But at the same time, Conrad agreed with North Dakota Republicans Sen. John Hoeven and Rick Berg in saying Obama’s plan doesn’t do enough to bring the national debt under control.

Of note to North Dakota, Conrad said the president’s proposal includes:

  • $12 million for the Fargo-Moorhead diversion project, to help with planning, engineering and design.
  • $433,000 for flood studies in the Red River basin
  • $10.5 million for continued rehabilitation work on the Garrison Dam.
  • $127 million for research and development in wind energy – a resource for which North Dakota ranks high in potential.
  • $67.8 million toward three military construction projects at Minot Air Force Base, including a new B-52 maintenance dock, a new conventional munitions maintenance facility and a new dormitory.

But some North Dakota water projects also would see budget cuts, such as the Garrison Diversion. Conrad attributed these cuts to the departure of former Sen. Byron Dorgan, who previously served as chairman of the subcommittee that funded such water projects.

Overall, though, Conrad said America needs a “much more robust package” to reduce the deficit and debt in the long term.

“We need a comprehensive long-term debt reduction plan that includes spending cuts, entitlement changes, and tax reform that simplifies the tax code, lowers rates, and raises more revenue,” Conrad said. “Both sides have to be willing to move off their fixed positions and find common ground.”

Hoeven, who like Berg is a freshman member of Congress this year, agreed Obama’s plan “doesn’t go far enough.”

“The right approach is two-fold,” Hoeven said. “First, we need to come together in a bipartisan way to find savings and reduce overall spending, and second, we need to create a pro-growth approach to our economic policy, which means building the kind of legal, tax and regulatory climate that will encourage American business to grow and create jobs.”

Berg said Obama’s proposal “spends too much, taxes too much, and borrows too much.”

“The President’s budget proposal simply offers more of the same reckless spending that has already driven our country deep into debt,” Berg said. “It’s clear that our government is on an unsustainable path. … Washington needs to listen to the American people and work to cut spending, reform our tax code, and create real solutions to the problems our country faces.”

7 thoughts on “ND delegation mostly critical of Obama’s 2012 budget proposal

  1. mr berg is operating just as he campaigned-all criticism and NO suggestions or NO plan to improve things. hopefully the voters will tire of him this first term. hoeven and conrad are closer together philosophically, so are apt to agree on a lot of things and will be able to work together. too bad conrad won’t run again. north dakota needs the seniority and the horsepower he has, and his ability to work with people. berg shows the latest neocon “just say no” concept.

  2. Why doesn’t the reporter state things right – it wasn’t the departure of Sen Dorgan, it was the cowardice and running away which led to the RETIREMENT of Sen Dorgan – lets put things in perspective. Dorgan chose to do what he did and if any federal welfare loss is attributed to Dorgan, he gets the blame for those who love ND being a welfare state, not an accolade from them.

  3. It is notable that nothing is said about the Obama Health Care act and the devastating effects that another entitlement program will have on the future of Federal & State Government spending and in general the growth in government. It looks like the seriousness of our federal debt crisis is starting to soak in. Government spending which has been the fuel for political power is evaporating. Being a leader in Washington is becoming serious business with the realization that the country is on the brink of fiscal disaster. Voters understand what is at stake and its not just their entitlements, it is our country. It’s no longer “bring home the bacon” and feel important and empowered. Now is the time for leadership especially on the part of our Congressional Members since we are not seeing any leadership from Obama on the budget. Any wonder why Conrad chose not to run. This is the time for powerful leadership not the power of the purse.

  4. Amazing! Kent Conrad has negative comments about the Obama budget farce! After many years of being a pseudo-budget hawk, he may finally have seen the light. Any way you look at it, our debt needs to be decreased significantly including revisions to SS, Medicare and Medicaid. And as far as education, remove the frderal cabinet positio and department and let the states spend where needed. If you look at the cost per puil across the nation, most of the states that are spending the most are getting the least. The Republicans had better take advantage of American’s desire to get rid of the debt and make some hard choices! you know the Dumbocrats will fight for every give away program to save the votes they get from hand outs.

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