Sen. Tom Coburn, Rep. Tom Cole split on budget deal

by Chris Casteel Published: December 11, 2013

The bipartisan budget deal reached by House and Senate negotiators would prevent a government shutdown, allow the congressional spending process to resume and save an estimated $23 billion over ten years.

But in an interview on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program, Sen. Tom Coburn said it didn’t go far enough.

“I’m real disappointed in the deal,” Coburn, R-Muskogee, said. “What is it we don’t understand when the GAO says we have $200 billion in wasteful spending every year? And what we do is we raise fees, steal money, raise the costs of pensions for federal workers. Do these things in the out years that are never guaranteed to be there and say we have a deal….None of the waste the duplication, the fraud, none of it. Yet here we will 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 the fraud duplication going on.”

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, said he was pleased with the deal. Cole was one of the House negotiators.

“Hardworking American families desperately want their government to stop budgeting by short-term, continuing resolutions or refusing to talk at all,” Cole said. “When I remember the pain caused by the recent shutdown, I am encouraged that this conference was able to reach a deal that finds real savings, eases sequester and brings down the deficit.

“We must continue finding common sense reforms that improve our economic outlook, bring down the deficit and provide a better future for our children and grandchildren. This budget deal is proof that is still possible.”

Rep. Jim Bridenstines, R-Tulsa, hoped to offer an alternative that would include more money for defense while changing the way inflation is calculated for Social Security and other federal programs.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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