(CNSNews.com) - Not only did President Barack Obama refuse to help the supercommittee as it attempted to reach an agreement on reducing the federal budget deficit -- the president complicated things for the committee, Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) said on Tuesday.
"The president actively made our jobs more difficult," Toomey told Fox & Friends. "He issued veto threats. He said...Obamacare had to be off the table, despite the fact that over time, that's a multi-trillion-dollar, extraordinary waste of money -- a very ill-conceived program. He came in and said that we ought to -- in addition to everything else we were working on -- we ought to find a way to pay for his latest $500-billion stimulus bill. The president was not helpful."
Toomey was one of 12 lawmakers on the panel that announced Monday it had failed to come up with $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction -- a failure that will trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts in 2013.
Supercommittee Democrats refused to consider Republican spending cuts unless Republicans agreed to a trillion-dollar tax hike, Toomey said.
But Toomey and other Republicans say a trillion-dollar tax hike would have been "devastating" to the economy. "The problem is a spending problem," said Toomey, noting that Democrats -- when they controlled all three branches of government in 2009 and 2010 -- went on a spending binge.
Toomey said it's important to find $1.2 trillion in spending cuts -- but he said the mandatory cuts, as they are configured now, are way too heavily weighted towards Defense.
"I think you'll see over coming months, we're going to offer proposals that would be alternatives to these cuts," Toomey told Fox & Friends.
But President Obama on Monday flatly refused to allow any changes in the automatic spending cuts, which are divided equally between domestic spending and defense spending. "I will veto any effort to get rid of those automatic spending cuts to domestic and defense spending," Obama said. "There will be no easy off ramps on this one. We need to keep the pressure up to compromise -- not turn off the pressure."
Obama told Congress to get back to work on a "balanced" plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. "That's exactly what they need to do. That's the job they promised to do. And they've still got a year to figure it out," he added. "Balanced" is Democrat-speak for tax hikes.
But Toomey believes some Democrats may join Republicans in refusing steep cuts to the Defense budget: "I think a lot of Democratic members of Congress are going to say, 'Wait a minute -- should we really be jeopardizing our natiional security when instead, for instance, we could reduce (agriculture) subsidies?' I think that's going to be the kind of tradeoff that we're going to present, and it will be pretty clear, I think, that we'll be able to shift some of this" (spending cuts).
Toomey offered the supercommittee a compromise plan two weeks ago that included "additional revenue." He suggested lowering marginal tax rates in exchange for eliminating various tax deductions and loopholes.
Toomey said at the time he'd prefer tax reform to the looming, massive tax increase that will happen if Congress allows the Bush-era tax rates to expire. He said the spectre of the looming tax hike is partly to blame for the current economic stagnation.