Boehner: We’ve Been Fiscally Responsible — When It Didn’t Matter
The obvious thorn in the side of Republicans — who’ve made a habit of blasting the deficit spending of the Democratic majority under President Obama — is that the GOP majority under President George W. Bush never once balanced its annual budgets. As a result, the national debt jumped from $5.7 trillion in 2000, when Bush was elected, to $10 trillion eight years later. The GOP controlled both chambers of Congress for six years of that span, during which time they not only cut taxes in the middle of two wars, but also passed the largest Medicare expansion since the program’s founding — an unfunded prescription drug benefit that former comptroller general David Walker has called “the most fiscally irresponsible piece of legislation since the 1960s.”
Today, House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) was asked point-blank how Republicans, given their track record, can criticize others for over-spending.
“Republicans will accept our fair share of the blame,” Boehner said. “But over the course of the last several years, Republicans have stood up on fiscal responsibility issues each and every time.”
I think this is important, because we have to prove to the American people that we are who we say we are. And I think when all of us voted against the stimulus bill twice last year, when all of us voted against their trillion-dollar budgets for as far as the eye can see twice last year, we began the process of not just talking about fiscal responsibility, but showing the American people that we are who we say we are.
Writing in Forbes last November, Bruce Bartlett — former advisor to Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush and Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) — had another take on Republicans who, as the minority, suddenly see themselves as budget hawks.
It astonishes me that a party enacting anything like the drug benefit would have the chutzpah to view itself as fiscally responsible in any sense of the term. As far as I am concerned, any Republican who voted for the Medicare drug benefit has no right to criticize anything the Democrats have done in terms of adding to the national debt. Space prohibits listing all their names, but the final Senate vote can be found here and the House vote here.
And yes, Boehner voted in favor of Part D.