Boehner says Democrats to blame for credit rating downgrade

House Speaker John A. Boehner worked Tuesday to pin responsibility for the nation’s credit downgrade elsewhere, telling rank-and-file Republicans that Democrats’ failure to enact the House GOP budget was to blame.

“The president and the Democratic leadership in Washington are trying to blame the ‘tea party’, because they know this downgrade is on [the Democrats],” Boehner told lawmakers during a conference call, according to aides.

The political and economic fallout from Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade U.S. debt continues to boomerang across Washington. Rather than motivate congressional leaders to respond to the nation’s deficit concerns, the worsened economic outlook has left both parties to further harden their partisan positions.


Boehner noted the House budget, from Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), saved nearly $6 trillion over the decade largely by substantially changing Medicare. The plan was met with stiff opposition from Democrats and a cool response from voters.

“The simple truth is that if our budget was law today, it’s unlikely anyone would be talking about the United States being downgraded today,” Boehner told lawmakers, who are on recess for the rest of August.

S&P specifically mentioned the political “brinksmanship” during the recent debt ceiling fight in Congress, as well as its lack of confidence in Washington’s ability to tackle deficits, in its credit rating downgrade.