NRCC, Jerry McNerney joust over budget proposal

When I was rounding up East Bay House members’ feedback on the President’s budget proposal yesterday, the office of Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, said he was on a plane and couldn’t be reached. The National Republican Congressional Committee was quicker on the draw, sending this statement from spokesman Paul Lindsay to media in McNerney’s and about five dozen other Democratic districts across the nation:

“Jerry McNerney’s Democrat leaders have again shown they lack the courage to address the fundamental fiscal and economic problems that continue to hold back America’s small businesses from creating jobs. Instead, Democrats in Washington have made it clear that they will double-down on the policies that continue to push this country toward bankruptcy and place more burdens on job creators. It remains to be seen whether McNerney understands what his constituents already do, which is that more spending, taxing and borrowing does nothing but destroy jobs.”

The NRCC was at it again this morning, issuing this statement:

Since President Obama unveiled his budget plan on Monday, a bipartisan consensus has emerged that it fails to adequately change our country’s current fiscal course and lead the way back to job creation. Instead, the President’s budget plan proposes higher taxes, increased spending and more borrowing, which means if California Democrat Jerry McNerney supports the plan, it would be a clear sign he intends to follow party orders instead of responding to the demands of his constituents. Since several high-profile Democrats have already panned President Obama’s misguided budget plan, will McNerney do the same and finally listen to voters who want an end to higher debt, astronomical deficits and unbearable taxes?

“The fact that some Democrats are already distancing themselves from the President’s budget demonstrates that this irresponsible proposal takes us down an unsustainable path which weakens our economy and does nothing to create jobs,” said NRCC Communications Director Paul Lindsay. “Will Jerry McNerney support yet another failed Democrat policy that grows government and increases the burden of debt on every American, or will he finally listen to his constituents in California as he faces the threat of another challenging election?”

(Never mind that many Democrats’ problem with the President’s proposal seems to be that it cuts too deep into programs protecting vulnerable communities, not that it “weakens our economy and does nothing to create jobs.”)

This afternoon, McNerney spokeswoman Sarah Hersh forwarded me his statement:

“As I consider the president’s budget, I will be looking to see how these proposals will affect the people I represent, many of whom have been hit hard by the tough economy.

“Based on my initial review, I’m heartened to see the president’s commitment to investing in infrastructure and clean energy initiatives. I spent over two decades working in clean energy and know firsthand the potential this field holds for creating jobs. Our country can create the next generation of jobs if we make the right choices now and invest in research and development of new technologies.

“However, I’m also concerned about some of the cuts the president is proposing. At a time when many communities are struggling, cutting assistance to police departments, job training programs, and grants to local governments will have a negative effect.

“As I continue to go through the proposal, I want to see what steps are laid out to create jobs. I’m interested to hear from the people I represent regarding the president’s budget and look forward to their thoughts and ideas.”

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.