Last August, debt ceiling negotiations between House Republicans and Senate Democrats came to an end when President Obama signed into law the Budget Control Act, a not-so-grand bargain that created a legislative super committee tasked with finding spending cuts to offset the debt ceiling increase. If the super committee failed, automatic cuts from the defense budget and discretionary spending levels would offset the cost.
The deal was an end to three tumultuous months of wrangling over the debt ceiling that brought the government to the brink of default and, thanks to the GOP’s intransigence on new tax revenues, led to the first credit downgrade in the nation’s history. House Republicans have repeatedly threatened to renege on the deal, and this morning, they made it official, adding an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that officially replaced spending cuts from the defense sequestration with cuts from the House reconciliation package.
In less than 10 minutes, the House officially unwound a budget deal that took an entire summer to craft, the New York Times’ Jonathan Weisman reports:
Without discussion, the House just voted to scrap the defense sequester, 220-201. 21 Republicans voted no. Oh well, there goes that.
— Jonathan Weisman (@jonathanweisman) May 18, 2012
After rendering last year’s negotiations completely pointless, House Republicans are poised to pull the exact same charade this year. Tuesday, the Washington Post reported that Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) “will insist that any increase in the debt limit be accompanied by spending ‘cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase,’” putting the economic recovery in jeopardy once again. Last year, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that the spending cuts Republicans required to raise the debt ceiling cost the economy 1.8 million jobs. And yet the GOP insists on recreating the same disastrous scenario all over again.