WASHINGTON (Talon News) — With the delivery of President Bush’s budget to Congress, Republicans and Democrats were quick to provide commentary on a proposal that’s being called “a blueprint to fund our nation’s priorities” on one hand and “fiscally irresponsible” on the other.

According to White House Budget Director Joshua Bolten, the budget is the first since the Reagan administration to propose a reduction in the “non-security discretionary category” of the budget. Programs such as Medicaid, farm subsidies, and portions of the student loan program are set to experience cuts for what the Bush administration describes as duplication of efforts or inefficiency of results.

“The president’s budget clearly reflects there are tough fiscal challenges ahead, but challenges that can be overcome through strong economic policies and spending restraint,” said House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-IL).

Hastert praised the budget for highlighting priorities such as “creating jobs, winning the war on terror, and securing a better future for children, senior citizens and all working families.” The House speaker noted that the proposed budget is “strong on national defense, homeland security and protecting our troops in the field.”

“President Bush’s proposal is a good starting point for the Congress to begin its work so together we can overcome the fiscal challenges on the road ahead, lower the deficit and instill more common sense to our nation’s budget,” Hastert said.

In a press conference following the release of the budget, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-ND) called the proposal “reckless.”

“It’s radical, and it’s wrong,” Conrad added.

Sen. Paul Sarbanes (D-MD) derided the budget proposal, saying, “We’re paying the price for excessive tax cuts.”

Republican Sen. John Cornyn from Texas sees the new budget in a different light and said Monday that the proposal “a good start.”

“The president has clearly shown his commitment to being a good steward of taxpayer dollars by proposing to reduce or eliminate some 150 programs which the administration believes have failed, are wasteful or are beyond reform,” Cornyn said. “He has also recommended the consolidation of several duplicative programs spanning numerous federal agencies. Together, these proposals merit careful review by Congress.”

In a statement released Monday, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that President Bush’s budget was “a hoax on the American people.”

“The two issues that dominated the president’s State of the Union Address — Iraq and Social Security — are nowhere to be found in this budget,” Pelosi added, saying the budget proposal is “fiscally irresponsible, morally irresponsible, and a failure of leadership.”

On the Senate side, Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), according to Fox News, called the budget “part of the Republican plan to cut Social Security benefits while handing out lavish tax breaks for multimillionaires.”

“Its cuts in veterans programs, health care, and education reflect the wrong priorities, and its huge deficits are fiscally irresponsible,” Reid added.

House Budget Committee Chairman Jim Nussle (R-IA) described President Bush’s budget as “an excellent starting point as we begin to craft the budget for the coming year.”

“His request reflects our most pressing needs: a growing economy, job creation, and the proper and necessary funding for our national defense and homeland security,” Nussle added. “The president’s request funds our priorities while maintaining the commitment to cutting the deficit in half by 2009.”

Nussle noted that in order to control deficits, “we must rein in and control federal spending.”

“The president’s proposal to eliminate programs that are no longer serving their purpose is a step in the right direction,” Nussle said.

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