(CNSNews.com) – Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.) told “Fox News Sunday” that President Biden’s FY 2024 budget proposes “$4.7 trillion in new taxes that will affect everyone over 10 years,” and the only way he can improve it “is with a shredder.”
“The president's budget took my breath away. His numbers are extraordinary. We're going to run out of digits here. It’s a $6.9 trillion budget, $4.7 trillion in new taxes that will affect everyone over 10 years, $18 trillion in new debt, a cut to defense,” Kennedy said.
“The president says that his budget will solve our financial problems in Medicare and Social Security. That is not true. Anything seems possible when you don't know what you are talking about. The ‘Wall Street Journal’ just reported that the president's budget will add $11 trillion in a financial shortfall to Social Security and Medicare. The only way I know how to improve the president's budget is with a shredder,” he said.
When asked House Republicans can counter the media’s portrayal of them after The New York Times reported that they’re working on a budget plan that will gut health care, SNAP, and housing, Kennedy said, “I'm going to try to do what is right for the American people. The media can do what it wants. The House is on track to put together a budget. The Senate needs to do their work on the budget.
“Senator Schumer has prevented that. I’m on the Appropriations Committee. We should be meeting right now. As you know, we split the budgets up into 12 mini-budgets. I'm ranking member on one of those sub-committees. We should be meeting right now, talking about how to reduce the weight of growth of spending and debt accumulation, but Senator Schumer will not allow us to meet,” he said.
“So when you can't sit down with your colleagues, it is kind of hard to put together something to talk to the American people about, because no question there are savings to be had in this budget. No fair-minded American believes you can't find efficiencies in a $6.9 trillion budget,” Kennedy said.
Fox News host Shannon Bream pointed out that analysts say Republicans bear equal blame for driving federal debt growth that passed Congress over the last two administrations.
When asked how he can convince the GOP to stop spending the same they criticize Democrats for doing, Kennedy said, “That criticism that you just read is correct. There have been any number of bills passed with Republican support in the Senate that added to spending. I didn't vote for them. I'll give one example. We just passed a $40 billion subsidy for big tech. It is called the CHIPS bill.
“The idea is to bring semiconductor manufacturing back to America. Right now we have a 10% market share. We just spent $40 billion in a giveaway to big tech. You know how much it’s going to increase our market share? One percent,” the senator said.
“Our infrastructure bill, which is not really infrastructure bill, I didn't vote for it, because I’m not going to buy a car to get the cup holders. If you want to talk savings, we ought to stop sending checks to dead people. We spend about a billion to two billion every year to send money to dead people. The checks are being cashed. It’s obviously a fraud,” he said.
“The president's plan to pay have the American people to pay for student debt cost $400 billion over 10 years. We already had a plan to repay student debt. It’s called a job. We ought to get rid of that. We ought to talk about how to reduce the federal workforce through attrition,” Kennedy said.
“We ought to talk about why in the Medicare program we're paying more for the same surgical treatment in a hospital as opposed to an outpatient clinic. There are lots of things we can do to reduce spending in this budget, but on the Senate side, we have to have Senator Schumer’s permission to do that and he’s not going to give it, nor is President Biden,” he said.
When asked if Republicans should have a public conversation about ways to fix Social Security and Medicare, Kennedy said, “I think you ought to get the Social security that you paid for, and I think you ought to get the Medicare that you paid for. Now Medicare is going to start getting in trouble financially in 2028. Social security in 2035, I think.
“We should be talking now how to make sure that those programs are solvent. The problem is that President Biden in his state of the union address decided to demagogue the issue. We all saw it,” the senator said.
“He basically said if you talk - talk speaking to Republicans - if you talk about social security or Medicare, I'm going to call you a mean, bad person, and that just took the issue off the table when the president decided to demagogue it. You can only be young once, but you can always be immature, and I thought it was a very immature thing to do,” he said.
When asked whether there should be conversations about something whether it be changing the age for people not paying into Social Security benefits, future changes or current changes, Kennedy said, “Of course we ought to talk about it. The life expectancy of the average American is about 77 years old. For people who are in their 20s, their life expectancy will probably be 85 to 90. Does it really make sense to allow someone in their 20s today to retire at 62? Those are kind of things we should talk about.
“There are changes in Medicare we should talk about. Let me say it again. Medicare pays more for the same surgical procedure in a hospital as it does in a private outpatient clinic. Why? There are a lot of things we could talk about, but president Biden has taken that issue totally off the table. He says he has fixed it in his budget, and that is nonsense, nonsense on a stick,” he said.
Bream said, “It looks like that will be done through increased taxes, which Republicans are thumbs down on that.”
“But it still leaves a shortfall. It still leaves an $11 trillion shortfall. When the president says I fixed the problem, with all due respect, he’s not telling the truth,” Kennedy said.
On Mexican drug cartels, the senator said that former U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr was “correct” when he said that if our country is under threat, the United States should have operations within Mexico.
“I think Attorney General Barr is correct. Look, the cartels, we know who they are. They are killing Americans on both sides of the border, and the fact is that the American military could partner with the Mexican military and the Mexican police, and we could wipe out the cartels, but President Lopez Obrador in Mexico refuses to do that, and when Senator Graham and I talked about the issue this year, this week rather, and president Biden said it was a bad idea,” Kennedy said.
“The truth is that the Biden believes in open borders. The cartels don't seem to bother him and President Lopez Obrador he can answer for himself, but I don't understand why he would turn down American help to get rid of cartels that are killing his people and our people,” he said.
The senator said, however, the United States cannot go into Mexico without Mexico’s permission.