The “debt deal” agreed upon over the weekend by U.S. President Barack Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) cleared the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 269-161 on Monday.
A total of 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats supported the controversial measure, while 95 Democrats and 66 Republicans (including the entire South Carolina Republican delegation) voted against the deal.
The proposal – which failed to make major immediate cuts, impose limits on future government growth or require that the federal budget be balanced – ensures that the rampant government growth America has seen under the administrations of Obama and former president George W. Bush will continue through the end of the decade.
Basically, it provides for $2.4 trillion worth of new deficit spending over the next seventeen months – with Washington politicians pledging to cut roughly the same amount over the coming decade.
“At the end of the day, Washington’s spending still has us sprinting towards a fiscal cliff,” U.S. Rep. Mick Mulvaney said after voting against the deal. “And this bill barely slows us down.”
Mulvaney co-authored a much stronger debt deal – dubbed “cut cap and balance” – that included spending caps as well as a balanced budget amendment requirement. While we wish that this proposal had included more immediate cuts, its “cap and balance” provisions would have enforced some real fiscal discipline on Washington, D.C. for the first time in decades.
Unfortunately, after passing the House the bill was blocked in the U.S. Senate.
“What we desperately need is structural change that stops Congress from continuing to spend a bunch of money we don’t have,” Mulvaney said.
It really is as simple as that – but America clearly didn’t get that sort of structural change out of the Obama-Reid-Boehner “debt deal.” What did it get? The guarantee of at least $7 trillion in new deficit spending over the coming decade – on top of the $5.7 trillion that’s been accumulated over the last four-and-a-half years.
“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally,” then-Senator Obama said in March of 2006. “Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren.”
We agree … it’s just a shame that neither Obama nor the GOP leadership is doing anything to fix the problem.
Republicans and Democrats have approved a combined $8.75 trillion worth of debt ceiling increases over the last decade. Of that total, $3.4 trillion was approved by George W. Bush and “GOP”-controlled Congresses. Another $2.35 trillion was approved by Bush and a Democratic-controlled Congress, while $3 trillion was approved by Obama and a Democratic-controlled Congress.
In addition to Boehner, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have both repeatedly voted for debt ceiling increases. Specifically, they both approved a $900 billion increase in May 2003, an $800 billion increase in November 2004, a $781 billion increase in March 2006 and an $850 billion increase in September 2007 – never once demanding spending cuts as a pre-condition.
Not surprisingly, all three GOP “leaders” supported the debt deal.