At a closed-door fundraiser on April 14, 2011, Pres.Obama criticized Republicans in Congress for using the budget process to “enact their political agenda under the guise of cutting spending.” He singled out Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the House budget committee and now Mitt Romney’s nominee for vice president, saying:
PRES. OBAMA: When Paul Ryan says his priority is to make sure, you know, he’s just being America’s accountant, trying to be responsible …This is the same guy who voted for two wars that were unpaid for, voted for the Bush tax cuts that were unpaid for, voted for the prescription drug bill that cost as much as my health care bill — but wasn’t paid for. So it’s not on the level.
Politifact rated the president’s statement as “Mostly True”:
There is no dispute Ryan voted for Afghanistan and Iraq war funding; for the major tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush in 2001 and 2003 (and extended in 2010); and for the new Medicare prescription drug benefit created in 2003.
All were big-ticket items.
But Obama goes a step further to assert that all were “unpaid for.” That’s Washington parlance for bills not offset by corresponding spending cuts or tax increases elsewhere in the federal budget.
Budget experts we consulted and the historical record confirm there were no direct offsets built into those bills.
Obama’s claim on the prescription drug bill was slightly different — that it wasn’t paid for and “cost as much as my health care bill.”
… [The] president was off in equating the gross cost of the [Medicare and Affordable Care Act] bills.
On the offset question, the Medicare prescription drug bill, however, indisputably added to the federal deficit. It was not offset by new revenue or other spending cuts.
In contrast, the official government estimate of the 2010 health care law’s impact said it would actually reduce the deficit, in part because of the new taxes it enacts to help offset the cost of expanding health coverage.
The source for that is the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.