Reps. Boehner, Cantor Perpetrate A Fraud In The Pages Of USA Today

August 17, 2011 11:24 am ET — Alan Pyke

In spinning the S&P downgrade report, Republicans are counting on you not to read it. That much was established in the wildly dishonest statements of dozens of GOP officials in the immediate aftermath of the downgrade.

Apparently they think it's working: Today, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) are actually quoting the report to support their claim that the downgrade was "a clarion call to get America's fiscal house in order" rather than the penalty for their party's shameless politicization of the debt ceiling.

Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade our creditworthiness is a clarion call to get America's fiscal house in order. The jobs and savings of too many Americans are at stake for Washington to continue ducking the toughest choices. [...]

Our budget also included real reforms that preserve and strengthen our insolvent entitlement programs, which are the biggest drivers of our debt. These kinds of reforms are "key to long-term fiscal sustainability," according to S&P's report. Unfortunately, the Democrats running Washington rejected both our budget and a "cut, cap and balance" plan the House passed recently that would also save trillions.

They do not quote S&P's criticism of Republicans using debt votes as "political bargaining chips." They do not quote S&P's decision to lower their expectations for deficit reduction "because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues." And they do not quote S&P's senior director, who specifically said that the downgrade decision came about because "people in the political arena were even talking about a potential default."

The shameless lies about what S&P says don't stop there. Later in the op-ed, Boehner and Cantor wrap up a call for a balanced budget amendment by claiming that "that is the type of commitment to fiscal responsibility that S&P and other rating services are looking for." In fact, S&P managing director John Chambers publicly opposes a balanced budget amendment because, in his words, "fiscal rules like these just diminish the flexibility of the government."

This is outright fraud. The two most powerful elected Republicans are flat-out lying to their employers.