Coburn: Budget Deal 'Not Anything I Can Support'

By Susan Jones | December 11, 2013 | 7:58am EST

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) spoke on Capitol Hill on Nov. 15 about the release of a report he produced on the Department of Defense spending. ( Starr)

( - "I'm real disappointed in the (budget) deal," Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) told MSNBC's "Morning Joe" Wednesday morning. "I'm sure it's the best (Rep.) Paul (Ryan) could get. But it's not anything I can support...What we ought to be doing is the hard work."

Coburn pointed to a government "waste book," which outlines $25-billion in wasteful government spending this year alone. "None of that's addressed in this (budget deal)," he said.

"None of the waste, the duplication, the fraud -- none of it. And yet, we're going to raise spending back up because the political powers that be want to spend more money rather than be responsible with what we know needs to be done up here -- which is hard work, eliminating all the stupidity and fraud, duplication that's going on."

What would Coburn suggest instead?

"Well here's what I would say: Keep the sequester levels exactly where they are -- and charge Congress with eliminating just duplications. Let's don't worry about fraud, incompetency, inefficiency; Let's just eliminate duplications over the next year -- you can pay for two-and-a-half times what the sequester is.

"Every dollar that you save is a dollar we'll add back on sequester. In other words, we won't raise taxes in the future, we won't raise airline fees for people who are traveling.

"They said there's no tax increases (in the budget deal). All of it's tax increases because eventually an American pays for it. So they did raise taxes.

"So the fact is, is with all this duplication, have Harry Reid and John Boehner say here's the different programs, GAO: go in, clean 'em up -- for every dollar you save, we'll add a dollar back. And I'll guarantee...we wouldn't have a government shutdown. You'd see members of Congress and committees actually doing what they were supposed to have been doing the last ten years, which (they) have not been doing."

Coburn blamed a lack of leadership for congressional slacking:

"What I would say, there's no leadership." Pointing again to waste, fraud and duplication in discretionary accounts, Coburn asked, "Why would you not say, let's go clean up this mess. No other business gets to do this."

Coburn said the budget deal take away pressure that needs to be applied to discretionary programs, both defense and non-defense.

The problem with Washington is that everyone worries about politics, he concluded:

"Everybody says, well how does this affect the next election. You know what, I don't care how it affects the next election. What I care is, that (we) quit rationalizing that we're always going to do it right when we finally get in charge. And so we can rationalize it -- we're not going to have a government shutdown, we're not going to raise the debt limit, or we are going to raise -- I don't care! The fact is the country's going down the tubes -- and all this does is add to it."

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