U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reacted to the news of Standard & Poor’s downgrade of the U.S.’s credit rating on Friday night, saying, “This decision by S&P is the latest consequence of the out-of-control spending that has taken place in Washington for decades." He added that “the spending binge has resulted in job-destroying economic uncertainty and now threatens to send destructive ripple effects across our credit markets.”
Boehner made these remarks within a a broader statement distributed in a press release after the long-term credit rating slipped to AA+:
“This decision by S&P is the latest consequence of the out-of-control spending that has taken place in Washington for decades. The spending binge has resulted in job-destroying economic uncertainty and now threatens to send destructive ripple effects across our credit markets.
“Republicans have listened to the voices of the American people and worked to bring the spending binge to a halt. We are no longer debating how much to spend, but rather how much to cut. Unfortunately, decades of reckless spending cannot be reversed immediately, especially when the Democrats who run Washington remain unwilling to make the tough choices required to put America on solid ground," he argued.
However, when S&P changed its rating for U.S. treasury bonds from AAA to AA+, it declared that both parties shared in the responsibility. The agency pointedly added that in its opinion, Republicans were most responsible for the "political brinksmanship" in the debt limit crisis that demonstrated the government has become "less stable, less effective and less predictable."
But in his statement late Friday, Boehner was having none of it. “The Administration and Democrats in Congress had sought an increase in the debt limit without any spending cuts or reforms. Republicans made clear the American people would not tolerate that and fought for the largest spending cuts possible. With the Budget Control Act, we made a positive first step toward reducing the debt, but much more must be done.
“In May, I warned, ‘if we don't act boldly now, the markets will act for us very soon.’ It is my hope this wake-up call will convince Washington Democrats that they can no longer afford to tinker around the edges of our long-term debt problem. As S&P noted, reforming and preserving our entitlement programs is the ‘key to long-term fiscal sustainability.’
“Republicans remain committed to ensuring the United States always meets its obligations. Though we are outnumbered in Washington, we will continue to press Democrats to join us in taking meaningful steps to rein in our debt and deficits.”
While ending on that concilatory note, Boehner's office on Saturday reiterated an old theme -- that it really was time for a fresh start in the ranks of the president's top economic advisers.
Last summer, Boehner, in a major economic address ahead of the midterm elections, called for the resignation of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers, the head of the White House's national economic team.
President Barack Obama "should ask for -- and accept -- the resignations of the remaining members of his economic team, starting with Secretary Geithner and Larry Summers," Boehner said in an economic address to the City Club of Cleveland.
Boehner argued on that occasion that "virtually" no one in the White House has run a small business and created jobs in the private sector.
"That lack of real-world, hands-on experience shows in the policies coming out of this administration," he said.
Since the downgrading of the nation's credit rating, Republican presidential candidate Rep. Michele Bachmann has joined in the call for Geithner's resignation.