MILLER: House GOP: Put Barack on a diet

It’s time to cut surplus spending at an out-of-touch White House

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Republicans in the House think federal belt-tightening needs to start with Congress and the White House itself. On Thursday, the House Appropriations Committee will vote on a fiscal year 2012 government-operations appropriations bill that trimmed 5 percent from the Executive Office of the President. President Obama had originally sought to pump up his personal budget by $34 million, showing once more how out of touch he has become in these tough economic times.

The GOP is eager to highlight this particular character flaw. “The White House is not immune from the need to reduce government spending, and extending these measures to the president sends a powerful signal to the American people that we get the message,” Appropriations subcommittee Chairman Jo Ann Emerson told The Washington Times. “The majority in the House of Representatives has been very diligent about practicing what we preach and cutting our budgets just like we believe federal entities ought to cut theirs.”

In one of his first acts when he took the gavel in January, House Speaker John A. Boehner slashed congressional and committee office budgets by 5 percent. House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers, Kentucky Republican, likewise cut his own committee’s operational budget by 9 percent. The government operations bill will face a House vote, but the real test is whether the Democratic Senate will go along with the plan to cut the budget at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Nevada Democrat, never cut his operating budget.

Under the GOP proposal, everything from the executive residence and the failing National Economic Council would have to cut back. The Office of Management and Budget faces the largest hit - a 10 percent cut. The president will have to do more than just install $50 curlicue light bulbs throughout his residence to “save” that money.

The White House shows little interest in the plight of ordinary Americans. Mr. Obama kicked off his presidential term with daily meetings with his Council of Economic Advisers. Over a month ago, the standing appointment fell off his schedule despite America’s growing 9.1 percent unemployment rate and dire housing numbers. Now that it’s public the president was skipping those meetings, Mr. Obama on Wednesday restarted the economic pep talks.

While Mr. Obama doesn’t seem worried about a double-dip recession and is nonchalant about talking to his economic advisers, House Republicans are forcing him to do a little belt-tightening of his own so he can feel just a twinge of the public’s pain.

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