Right after the House of Representatives approved a Senate bill to avert a government shutdown, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) set the stage for another down-to-the-wire crisis that will threaten the nation’s economic growth. At his weekly press conference, Boehner indicated that Republicans would again demand spending cuts in exchange for raising the nation’s debt ceiling, which it is set to hit in May.
Boehner said Republicans would only raise the debt ceiling if they got an equal amount of spending cuts, the Huffington Post reports:
“Dollar for dollar is the plan,” Boehner told reporters, adding that there have been no major talks on the debt limit at this point.
“The president has been clear that he’s not going to address our entitlement crisis unless we’re willing to raise taxes. I think the tax issue has been resolved,” said Boehner. “So at this point then, I don’t know how we’re going to go forward.”
Boehner’s House of Representatives has created an atmosphere of perpetual crisis in Washington since the GOP took control in 2011. The GOP took the government to the brink of shutdown early in 2011 before nearly forcing a default by demanding spending cuts in exchange for a debt ceiling increase that summer. That fight set up sequestration, the automatic budget cuts that threatened to derail the economy at the beginning of 2013 before a last minute deal pushed them back to the beginning of March. Republicans failed to extract more cuts when the debt ceiling was temporarily extended in January, but Boehner is now seeking to make sure cuts happen in May — even though the U.S. has already cut more than $2 trillion in spending over the last three years.
Those cuts have hammered the economic recovery, as has the culture of crises Boehner and the GOP have created. The last debt ceiling fight increased borrowing costs and slowed down economic growth, but despite evidence that both the GOP’s fights and their preferred policies are harming the economy, Boehner insists on repeating the same mistakes. Raising the debt ceiling was never an issue for Boehner when George W. Bush was president, but the recent fights have proven so harmful that top policymakers like Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are now calling for the permanent abolition of the debt limit.