The Washington Times - April 7, 2011, 01:30PM

Rep. Adam Kinzinger, Illinois Republican, said on Thursday that it’s about time President Obama got into the budget fight.

“It’s ironic the president starts acting like a leader today, when he’s been notably absent the last two years on budget issues,” the 32-year-old freshman congressman said on The Washington Times-affiliated “America’s Morning News” radio program. “Especially since I’ve been here, we have not seen the president anywhere,” he said.

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Mr. Kinzinger said he still thinks Friday’s shutdown of the federal government can be avoided in the standoff between Republicans and Democrats over stopgap funding for the rest of fiscal 2011.

“I think we’re going to come to some kind of conclusion, but I can’t say that for sure. My crystal ball’s broken right now.”

The congressman, who was named a deputy Republican whip by the House leadership, acknowledged that the battle over spending is starting to shift to the 2012 budget, including this week’s “Path to Prosperity” proposal submitted by Rep. Paul D. Ryan, Wisconsin Republican, who is chairman of the House Budget Committee.

“I do think the fight now for the future is this 2012 budget,” he said.

“You’ve seen the Democrats spin what’s going on and call us ‘extremists.’ At a time when the American family has had to tighten their belt because of the economy, the government spent 25 percent more. And they call us ‘extremists’ because we want to begin to rein that back.”