GOP Leaders Voted For Three Of The Biggest Debt Drivers, Costing $3.4 Trillion

GOP leaders stuck to their talking points last night in responding to President Obama’s speech on the debt ceiling, accusing him of the “largest spending binge in American history,” as Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said in remarks following the president’s. “[T]he President and his party continued to make demands which we cannot meet,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) said yesterday, adding that Obama is demanding “a blank check to keep spending.”

But Boehner and Cantor, along with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) have all voted for some of the biggest contributors to the debt — the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Bush tax cuts, and President Bush’s Medicare prescription drug plan — which helped to double the debt over the past decade:

Together, a Bloomberg News analysis shows, these initiatives added $3.4 trillion to the nation’s accumulated debt and to its current annual budget deficit of $1.5 trillion. […]

“There’s plenty of blame to go around,” for the debt, said Robert Bixby, executive director of the Concord Coalition, an Arlington, Virginia-based group that advocates for balanced budgets. “If there had been no Barack Obama, we would still be bumping up against the debt limit.’”

The analysis shows the wars have cost $1.3 trillion since 9/11, the Bush tax cuts cost $1.7 trillion in lost revenue over a decade, and Medicare Part D costs $369 billion over a decade. The recession has also been a major contributor to the debt.


Republicans are often willing acknowledge their party’s profligate ways under President Bush, but attempt to dismiss it as a something done by their predecessors. But this analysis shows that the very same people leading the GOP in Congress today helped contribute to the problem they are now blaming on anyone but themselves.