- The Washington Times - Friday, February 5, 2016

The White House ripped congressional Republicans Friday for refusing to meet with President Obama’s budget chief, accusing them of bailing out like Donald Trump in a debate moderated by Megyn Kelly.

“Maybe they are taking the Donald Trump approach to debates about the budget,” White House press secretary Josh Earnest said of the lawmakers. “They are just not going to show up.”

Mr. Trump backed out of a Republican presidential debate in Iowa after objecting to his treatment by debate host Fox News.

The House and Senate budget chairmen said Thursday they won’t meet with Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan because Mr. Obama’s spending plan is unrealistic, and it will be dead on arrival when he delivers it to Congress on Tuesday.

The snub angered White House officials, who started researching the last time Congress failed to meet with a president’s budget chief. Mr. Earnest said Congress has met with the OMB director for at least the past 16 years in a row.

Mr. Earnest reminded reporters that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and then-Speaker John Boehner of Ohio co-wrote an op-ed in early 2015, when Republicans gained control of the Senate, saying they intended to “get Congress moving again.”

“The future is pretty dim if you have Republicans in Congress unwilling to even talk about the budget with the White House,” Mr. Earnest said. “We do see that Republicans are pretty eager to leap to the defense of the oil industry, but they are not willing to have a serious, detailed conversation about our country’s budget priorities.”

Republican lawmakers are panning Mr. Obama’s proposal to charge a $10-per-barrel fee on oil to pay for his green energy initiatives.

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