Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) tangled with Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) on a Sunday talk show, accusing the ranking Republican on the Budget Committee of worshiping at “the altar of the false god of tax cuts” instead of focusing on job creation.
O’Malley, the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, and Sessions appeared together during a six-minute segment on “This Week” on ABC News, discussing the nation’s debt crisis and economic outlook. It was O’Malley’s first appearance on the Sunday talk show circuit since ascending to DGA chairman in December.
The flash point of the segment occurred after Sessions finished answering a series of questions from host Christiane Amanpour, during which he asserted that President Obama and Senate Democrats were leading the country down an “unsustainable path.”
“The administration wants to raise taxes so they can permanently implant a larger level of spending,” Sessions said. “We’ve got to bring that spending down, not increase the burden on the private sector.”
“In all of that, Christiane, I never once heard the distinguished senator say the word ‘jobs,’” O’Malley responded. “What we have right now are moms and dads in Maryland, moms and dads in Alabama, who are looking for work and have been looking for work for a long, long time. Sen. Sessions voted for the largest deficit increases under George Bush, and he, like others in his party, worship at the alter of the false god of tax cuts. We need to be about creating jobs.”
Both O’Malley and Sessions expressed optimism that the bipartisan supercommittee assigned by Congress to find ways to reduce the nation’s debt would be successful.
O’Malley also said he disagreed with Standard & Poor’s downgrading of the U.S. credit rating.
“I don’t just it’s justified when you look at the math here,” O’Malley said. “They made a $2 trillion mistake.”
But he added: “One has to find understandable their pessimism about our inability to come together on the most important issue facing our country, which is how do we create jobs. We need a balanced approach, and the extremism, the tea-party obstructionism here in Washington, is keeping us from restoring that balanced approach that America’s always used, of investing in the future, of investing in job creation, and also being fiscally responsible at the same time.”
Sessions countered that “the debt is pulling down growth and costing us jobs. The debt-to-GDP ratio that is now 100 percent is hammering our economy. That’s why we’re having the unexpected decline in growth that we’ve seen the first half of this year.”