Obama allies, critics, argue over credit downgrade
August 6, 2011
By David Jackson, USA TODAY
Allies and critics of President Obama are already pointing fingers over the credit rating downgrade by Standard & Poors.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who clashed with Obama repeatedly during the recent debt ceiling dispute, attributed the downgrade to government spending.
"Unfortunately," Boehner added, "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."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, echoed Obama's call for a "balanced" debt reduction plan, including more tax revenues from wealthy Americans — a step blocked by Republicans during the recent debate over raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.
"The action by S&P reaffirms the need for a balanced approach to deficit reduction that combines spending cuts with revenue-raising measures like closing taxpayer-funded giveaways to billionaires, oil companies and corporate jet owners," Reid said.
The downgrade of the credit rating — from AAA to AA-plus — now puts a premium on the special congressional committee assigned to find $1.5 trillion more in debt reduction over the next decade.
Republican presidential candidates are also weighing in on the downgrade — pointing the finger straight at Obama.
"America's creditworthiness just became the latest casualty in President Obama's failed record of leadership on the economy," said former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney. "Standard & Poor's rating downgrade is a deeply troubling indicator of our country's decline under President Obama."
Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., — who opposed the debt ceiling deal — called on Obama to fire Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, and "submit a plan with a list of cuts to balance the budget this year, turn our economy around and put Americans back to work."
Meanwhile, a group called "No Labels" said it places the blame for the S&P downgrade "on elected officials on both sides of the aisle who have been unwilling to compromise, put everything on the table and tackle the tough issues facing the nation."