Press Releases

“The President has appointed a loyalist whose main contribution to the economic debate has been to mislead the public about the effects of the President’s budget plans.

What we desperately need is economic leadership that is willing to look the American people in the eye and tell them the truth about the disastrous conditions facing working Americans... I would respectfully urge the President to reconsider this appointment and to search the nation for someone with the caliber and stature necessary to fill this important post at this important time.” 

WASHINGTON—U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ranking Member of the Senate Budget Committee, issued the following statement today regarding the selection of former Office of Management and Budget Director Jeffrey Zients to fill the top position on the President’s National Economic Council:

“At this critical time, the position of the President’s chief economic advisor demands the very best our nation has to offer. Instead, the President has appointed a loyalist whose main contribution to the economic debate has been to mislead the public about the effects of the President’s budget plans.

What we desperately need is economic leadership that is willing to look the American people in the eye and tell them the truth about the disastrous conditions facing working Americans. Someone who can lay out a plan for the future that includes more than tax and spend and debt. Someone who can end the stagnation and decline and help the economy to grow.

This appointment sends a clear message: the President has no new plan, no new vision, and there will be no change in course.

Adjusted for inflation, median household income is lower than at any point since 1998. Wages are lower today than in 1999. A quarter of all youth are unemployed. Welfare and poverty support programs now comprise more than a fifth of all federal spending. The federal debt stands at $16.7 trillion.

In 2009, Mr. Zients was selected by the President to serve as chief performance officer, responsible for streamlining the operations of government. Shortly after that, he became acting director of the President’s budget office. He then came before the Budget Committee and refused, under repeated questioning, to acknowledge that the President’s budget increased spending. In fact, that proposal increased spending more than a trillion dollars above current law.

We are in an economic period marked by alarming long-term trends: a shrinking workforce, expanding welfare rolls, flat or falling wages. What does the White House offer? Increased regulation and taxation of the private sector, endless ‘stimulus’ in the form of borrowed money, massive government intrusions like Obamacare, expanded guest worker programs to replace dislodged workers, and a fierce defense of a failing welfare bureaucracy.

Sadly, with Mr. Zients’ selection, the White House has decided the problem is not the policy. He wants to continue further down the same road, without a leader who can offer fresh insight to reverse these unacceptable trends. I would respectfully urge the President to reconsider this appointment and to search the nation for someone with the caliber and stature necessary to fill this important post at this important time.”

BACKGROUND:

In February 2012, Zients appeared before the Budget Committee and repeatedly refused to answer basic questions about whether President Obama’s FY 2013 budget increased or decreased spending—before ultimately incorrectly claiming that it reduced spending relative to current law. In fact, that plan would have increased spending by more than $1 trillion. In 2013, Zients again appeared before the Committee and was unable to even say how much debt would be added under the President’s 2014 budget (which Zients had prepared). Gross federal debt would have climbed to $25.4 trillion under that plan.