Romney: ‘I Really Like' NEA and Corporation for Public Brodcasting, But Not Willing to Borrow from China To Pay For It

Fred Lucas | November 4, 2011 | 5:18pm EDT
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( – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney said that he would eliminate federal funding for groups such as Planned Parenthood, and that while he really liked the National Endowment for the Arts and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting he was unwilling to borrow money from China to pay for them.

He pledged on Friday that, if elected president, he would focus on federal programs one at a time.

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“For each program that we have in the government, I'm going to look at them one by one,” Romney said at the Defending the American Dream Summit in Washington, D.C.  “I’m going to ask this question: Is this program so critical, so essential, that we should borrow money from China to pay for it? Now, for example, I like Amtrak. But I’m not willing to borrow $1.6 billion dollars a year from China to pay for it.”

“Look, I really like the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting,” Romney said. “But I will not borrow almost $1 billion dollars a year from China to pay for them.”

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, presented his fiscal plan to reduce the debt and balance the budget, at the event, which was sponsored by the conservative group Americans for Prosperity.

“I’m gong to make the federal government simpler, smaller, and smarter by eliminating programs, by sending programs back to states, and by making the federal government itself more productive,” Romney said. “I’ll at the same time provide for the national defense, enforce our laws, preserve our safety net and honor all our promises to our elderly.”

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the Defending the American Dream Summit, Friday, Nov. 4, 2011, in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Romney said that under Obama federal spending has climbed to 24 percent of the gross domestic product. He said he would cap spending at 20 percent of GDP and push for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. He also said he would repeal Obamacare.

In addition, Romney talked about foreign aid.

“Did you know we give $27 million dollars a year – guess to which country -- to China,” Romney said. “I will stop sending any money to a country that can take care of itself, and no foreign aid will go to countries that oppose American interests.”

Romney currently is running second in most polls behind Herman Cain, who also spoke at the event.

Romney went on to say, “And you know well that we spend $300 million a year on groups like Planned Parenthood that provide abortions or abortion-related services. It’s a long time past for that to be over.”

Romney said he would push to give Medicaid and nine, separate federal work force training agencies over to the states to handle. He also stressed that containing costs meant getting a handle on the size of the federal workforce and the benefits it pays out.

“On President Obama’s watch, we’ve added 140,000 workers to the federal work force,” Romney said. “The American people are increasingly working to support the government, not the other way around. I’ll reduce the federal payroll by at least 10 percent, saving $3.5 billion a year.

“Since President Obama took office, the number of federal workers that make over $150,000 a year has more than doubled,” Romney added. “I insist that we limit the salary and benefits of public workers to those which exist in the private sector. Public servants shouldn’t get a better deal than the taxpayers they work for. By linking government pay with private sector pay, we will save as much as $47 billion a year.”

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