Media Matters Action Network

House GOP's Latest Stunt Misplaces Blame For Need To Act On Debt Limit

May 31, 2011 3:33 pm ET by Matt Finkelstein

Later today, the House is expected to vote on a "clean" bill to increase the debt limit. The bill is guaranteed to fail, but the Republican leadership scheduled the vote in order to send the message that they are willing to let the country slide into default if the debt-limit increase is not tied to massive spending cuts. According to a spokesman for Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), "The reason we are having the vote is to demonstrate there is absolutely no support, or almost no support, for what the administration has been asking for."

The worst part of this legislative stunt, however, is the actual language in the bill, which blames President Obama's proposed budget for the need to raise the debt limit:

H.R. 1954: A bill to implement the President's request to increase the statutory limit on the public debt.

SECTION 1. FINDING.

The Congress finds that the President's budget proposal, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012, necessitates an increase in the statutory debt limit of $2,406,000,000,000.

House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) previously stated that Obama's "spending spree" is "the whole reason" that the U.S. is set to exceed the debt limit, but the necessity of congressional action has very little to do with the president. The recent surge in the national debt has been fueled largely by losses of revenue from the Bush tax cuts and the historic recession that President Obama met upon taking office.

Despite the GOP messaging, even Ryan's "Path to Prosperity," which the House passed last month, would require Congress to increase the debt limit. 

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