Local Politics

Federal budget battles were hot topic at Raleigh breakfast

Posted April 11, 2011 2:22 p.m. EDT

— Two of North Carolina's Democratic congressmen fielded heated questions Monday from voters weary of the budget battles in Washington.

“This has been an embarrassment. I think Americans are right to feel very angry about what they see going on in Washington the last week or two,” U.S. Rep. Brad Miller said during the Leadership Raleigh Breakfast at the Cardinal Club.

Democratic leaders blame Republicans for filibustering efforts to pass a full year budget in December.

"Democrats wanted to shut the government down so they could continue the out-of-control spending binge that threatened to bankrupt our country for generations to come,” U.S. Rep. Renee Ellmers, a Republican, said in a statement.

Working late into Friday night, congressional and White House negotiators finally agreed on a plan to pay for government operations through the end of September while trimming $38.5 billion in spending.

Lawmakers then approved a measure to keep the government running through April 15 while the details of the new spending plan are written into legislation.

“I think we need a whole lot less ideology and a lot more practical dedication of getting the job done,” U.S. Rep. David Price said during the breakfast.

Price said the best cure for a budget deficit is reviving the economy. He said lawmakers need to cut out waste and new taxes aren't out of the question.

“It wasn’t that long ago, we ran surpluses in this budget. We know how to do it. It’s just a matter of mustering the political will,” Price said.

President Barack Obama is expected to unveil his plan to reduce the deficit on Wednesday. It may include reductions in Medicare and Medicaid spending.