Justin Sink at The Hill reports:
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Monday that President Obama does believe the country has a spending problem, a day after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said it was “almost a false argument” to say as much.
“Of course, the president believes that we have a spending problem,” Carney said at his daily briefing Monday.
Carney went on to argue that the government’s debt was “specifically driven by” healthcare spending, and argued the Obama administration was attempting to address those issues.
“The fact of the matter is, we need to reduce our healthcare costs. Funnily enough, recognizing that fact, the president took action to do just that through the Affordable Care Act, which has been scored by the CBO to significantly reduce our healthcare costs going forward,” Carney said.
Carney also acknowledged “we need to do more” to rein in deficit spending.
The comments come a day after Republicans roundly criticized Pelosi for her comments in a Fox News interview.
“It is almost a false argument to say we have a spending problem,” Pelosi said. “We have a budget deficit problem that we have to address.”
Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) said of Pelosi’s comments that “this is the attitude that has the U.S. 16 [trillion dollars] in debt.” Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) called the remark “unbelievable” on Twitter.
The Minority Leader went on to say the deficit and debt are at “immoral levels” and “must be reduced,” but that she believed in a balanced package that included spending cuts and revenue increases. With an $85 billion sequester set to trigger at the end of the month, Democrats and Republicans are battling over how to replace the across-the-board spending cuts.
Pelosi was responding to an anecdote told by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal that Obama told him “we don’t have a spending problem” during one of their fiscal-cliff negotiations.