Rep. Camp Blames Obama For Debt From GOP Policies Camp Supported

July 29, 2011 10:22 am ET

During a July 28 speech on the House floor, Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) produced a chart comparing the debt accumulated under the Obama and Bush administrations. According to Camp, "President Obama's actions" have led to "twice the debt in half the time" as his predecessor. However, Camp's wildly misleading assertion blames President Obama for a projected FY 2009 deficit that was already over $1 trillion when he took office, while ignoring the fiscal impact that Bush's policies are still having. Not surprisingly, Camp voted for the Bush policies that caused the deficit to explode.

"Twice The Debt In Half The Time"?

CAMP: As we all know, under President Obama, we are experiencing our third straight year of deficits in excess of $1 trillion. In four years, President Obama's actions and projected deficits will lead to more than twice the debt that was added in the previous eight years. All told, the debt will double under President Obama's watch and reach a staggering $26 billion [sic] by 2021. That's double the debt in half the time. Congress must act to cut spending and get our budget under control, and that's what the legislation before us does.

Projected Deficit Was $1.2 Trillion Before President Obama's Inauguration

Before Obama Took Office, The FY 2009 Deficit Was Projected At $1.2 Trillion. As the Washington Times reported on January 8, 2009:  "The Congressional Budget Office announced a projected fiscal 2009 deficit of $1.2 trillion even if Congress doesn't enact any new programs. [...] About the only person who was silent on the deficit projection was Mr. Bush, who took office facing a surplus but who saw spending balloon and the country notch the highest deficits on record." [Washington Times1/8/09, emphasis added]

Cato Institute: Assertion That Obama Exploded Deficits "Is Largely Untrue" Because Most 2009 Spending Was Done By Bush Administration. From the Cato Institute's Cato-At-Liberty blog: 

In addition to being theoretically misguided, critics sometimes blame Obama for things that are not his fault. Listening to a talk radio program yesterday, the host asserted that Obama tripled the budget deficit in his first year. This assertion is understandable, since the deficit jumped from about $450 billion in 2008 to $1.4 trillion in 2009. [...] But there is one rather important detail that makes a big difference. The chart is based on the assumption that the current administration should be blamed for the 2009 fiscal year. While this makes sense to a casual observer, it is largely untrue. The 2009  fiscal year began October 1, 2008, nearly four months before Obama took office. The budget for the entire fiscal year was largely set in place while Bush was in the White House. So is [sic] we update the chart to show the Bush fiscal years in green, we can see that Obama is partly right in claiming that he inherited a mess (though Obama actually deserves a small share of the blame for Bush's last deficit since earlier this year he pushed through both an "omnibus" spending bill and the so-called stimulus bill that increased FY2009 spending). [, 11/19/09, emphasis added]

GOP Policies And The Recession — Not Obama's Policies — Are The Main Drivers Of Current Deficits

CBPP: Present "Huge Deficits" Due To Bush Tax Cuts, Wars, And Recession. As the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities explains: "If not for the Bush tax cuts, the deficit-financed wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the effects of the worst recession since the Great Depression (including the cost of policymakers' actions to combat it), we would not be facing these huge deficits in the near term." [, 5/10/11]

The Center for Budget and Policy Priorities prepared the following graphic showing that the Bush tax cuts and wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will account for nearly half of public debt by 2019:

Public Debt

[, 5/20/11]

The Bush Tax Cuts Are The Primary Driver Of Federal Budget Deficits Over The Next Decade. Below is a chart from Center on Budget and Policy Priorities showing the deficit impacts of war spending, financial recovery spending, the recession itself, and the Bush tax cuts:


[, 5/10/11]

Camp Supported GOP Policies That Created Massive Debt

Bloomberg: GOP Leaders "Voted For Major Drivers Of The Nation's Debt." According to Bloomberg:

House Speaker John Boehner often attacks the spendthrift ways of Washington. [...]

Yet the speaker, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell all voted for major drivers of the nation's debt during the past decade: Wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts and Medicare prescription drug benefits. They also voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, that rescued financial institutions and the auto industry. [Bloomberg, 6/26/11]

  • Camp Supported The 2001 Bush Tax Cuts. Rep. Dave Camp voted for the Economic Growth and Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2001. [H.R. 1836, Vote #149, 5/26/01]

  • Camp Supported The Iraq War. Rep. Dave Camp voted for the joint resolution to authorize the use of military force in Iraq. [H.J. Res 114, Vote #455, 10/10/02]

  • Camp Supported The 2003 Bush Tax Cuts. Rep. Dave Camp voted for the Jobs and Growth Tax Relief Reconciliation Act of 2003. [H.R. 2, Vote #225, 5/23/03]

  • Camp Supported The Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit. Rep. Dave Camp voted for the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act. [H.R. 1, Vote #669, 11/22/03]