162 Republicans Vote for Default
Republicans’ first act in their latest manufactured crisis was shutting down the government in a failed and mean-spirited bid to deny affordable health insurance to millions.
We know that the shutdown resulted in some 800,000 federal employees being thrown out of work, hundreds of national parks and other federal lands closed, cancer treatments denied, food assistance cut off to low-income women and children, and countless other painful consequences for people across the country.
It also cost the economy at least $24 BILLION. Just to give you an idea, here are just a few examples of what else you could get for $24 BILLION:
- The net cost of to the government from the Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP): $24 billion
- The Department of Agriculture’s proposed budget: $22.6 billion
- NASA’s approved budget: $16.6 billion
- All air transportation programs, including the Federal Aviation Administration, security, research, and other costs: $21.9 billion
- The Child Tax Credit: $22.1 billion
- The Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program (formally known as welfare): $17.7 billion
- The cost of Head Start, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and Women Infants and Children (WIC) program combined: $25.2 billion
The $24 BILLION sucked out of the economy thanks to the government shutdown comes on top of an estimated $700 BILLION cumulative hit to the economy thanks to the GOP’s years-long effort to govern by crisis.
In fact, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) won’t rule out another shutdown, adding that he will still “do anything” to stop Obamacare. Another House Republican, Rep. John Fleming (R-LA), said, “we’re going to start this all over again.”
It gets worse.
After inflicting this painful and unnecessary shutdown on the country for 16 days, during which time they sometimes seemed to forget why they even shut the government down in the first place, Republicans voted en masse last night in favor of a catastrophic default and continued government shutdown.
The GOP’s Default Caucus — 18 Republican Senators and 144 House Republicans — apparently preferred a default that threatened to collapse the entire global economy to allowing millions to get affordable health insurance and re-opening the government at spending levels Republicans themselves proposed.
Supporting a government shutdown is bad enough, but supporting an economic shutdown by refusing to pay the nation’s bills is a stunningly extreme position. Unfortunately, it’s a position that a majority of Congressional Republicans apparently support. Even GOP budget guru Paul Ryan voted for a reckless economic shutdown on top of the government shutdown.
As National Journal noted today, “several of those who might be considered serious GOP 2016 contenders for the presidency also voted in favor of the first default in American history in order to stay in the tea party’s good graces.”
BOTTOM LINE: It’s time for the GOP’s brinksmanship and manufactured crises to end. Instead of shutting down the government, voting to default on our obligations, and proclaiming their pride in job-killing austerity spending cuts, Republicans should sit down with Democrats and agree to a budget that protects important programs and makes the investments we need to grow the economy and create jobs.
The Center for American Progress has a balanced budget plan that will replace the damaging sequester cuts for the next three years and make badly needed investments in job creation. You can check it out HERE.