Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell did not mince words in his reaction to initial recommendations from President Obama’s debt commission this morning, surprising Fox & Friends’ anchors by saying the leaked suggestions represent “a good start” and that they don’t “go far enough.”
Host Brian Kilmeade interjected, “Really?” prompting McDonnell to call the debt “unsustainable and immoral” and to add “I think we need to do a lot more than” the commission suggests to cut spending.
The chairmen of the 18-member bipartisan commission proposed several controversial measures to tackle the debt in a preliminary report they released Wednesday, including reductions in Social Security benefits and a comprehensive tax overhaul that would raise tax burdens by $80 billion a year in 2015 and $160 billion a year by 2020. The commission is set to release an official report December 1.
McDonnell praised the proposals to cap discretionary spending and extend the retirement age to 69. He also endorsed the consideration of cuts in defense spending, which many Republicans oppose.
“If we’re going to get the debt under control,” he said, “we’ve got to start with the deficit and reduce spending now, and I hope that’s what Republicans do when they come in because that’s what they campaigned on and that’s what we need to do.”
In order to reduce spending, he said, “everybody’s going to have to take a little bit of the sacrifice.”
McDonnell criticized the immediate carping over the proposed cuts, saying the sound of alarm raised by prominent Democrats – Speaker Nancy Pelosi declared the proposal “simply unacceptable,” and AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka said the report essentially tells “working Americans to ‘drop dead’” – “shows me that they don’t get it.”
“Fiscal conservative principles work,” he added, citing his own record reducing state deficits without raising taxes. “They’ve worked in Virginia, Texas and other places – New Jersey – and I think the federal government’s gotta get serious about cutting spending.”