Fiscal Responsibility

Anatomy of a Boehner Quote

Lately up here on Capitol Hill, the GOP has engaged in quite a bit of revisionist history on the sequester, hoping the American people will conveniently forget that 174 House Republicans (including all of the senior leadership) voted for a measure that Politico said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell was “the chief Republican architect of.”

Now, faced with some difficult choices and forced to actually stand up to Grover Norquist and the pledge, the GOP’s rhetorical sleight-of-hand on this issue is truly a sight to behold. So we here in the Democratic Whip Press Shop decided to give you this annotated quote from Speaker Boehner’s press conference this week:

“The sequester is happening because the president didn’t lead (1). He wanted an increase in the debt ceiling, without spending cuts and reforms that are truly needed to reduce our deficit and our debt (2). He wanted an increase in the debt ceiling so that he wouldn’t have to deal with it  twice before his election. So rather than agree to tax and entitlement reforms that everyone knows are needed, the president and Senate Democrats gave us the sequester (3), promising that the cuts would never actually happen (4).”

                                                                                                 -Speaker John Boehner 7.19.2012 


1.)    Oh boy, where to begin with this one. An exhaustive tick-tock on the GOP’s 2-year pattern of congressional obstruction on everything from the debt limit to the highway bill can be found here. But on this specific charge, referring to the deal that would become the Budget Control Act, Matt Bai writes in his definitive New York Times Magazine account: “[Boehner] had to now know that, despite his sense of himself as a persuasive statesman who could get his caucus to follow his lead, he couldn’t get any deal past even his own leadership. It was safer for Boehner to walk away and accuse Obama of having sabotaged the deal than to risk that Obama would retreat to the earlier terms on which they had agreed, forcing the speaker to backtrack himself.”

2.)    And you know who agreed with Obama? Ben Bernanke. Even the Chamber of Commerce and other leading business groups wrote last summer that the debt limit fight should not have been the venue for a partisan fight.

3.)    Your vote for it just won’t go away Speaker Boehner, no matter how many times you try to pin it on the Democrats. And for a handy list of all of your Republican colleagues in the Senate who joined you in support of the BCA that Republicans helped craft themselves, look here.

4.)    They don’t have to. All you have to do is finally get serious about working with Democrats on a big, bold and balanced deficit reduction plan, instead of just playing the blame game and refusing to put revenues on the table.