GOP Debt Ceiling Brinkmanship Cost Taxpayers At Least $1.3 Billion

The long partisan battle last summer over whether to raise the debt ceiling increased the Treasury’s borrowing costs by about $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011, and the bill is expected to climb, according to the Government Accountability

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The long partisan battle last summer over whether to raise the debt ceiling increased the Treasury’s borrowing costs by about $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011, and the bill is expected to climb, according to the Government Accountability Office.

In a report released on Monday, the investigative arm of Congress found that the battle between Republicans and Democrats over the conditions to increase the debt limit to its current level of $16.4 trillion led to uncertainty in the debt markets and higher borrowing costs. It said that a full accounting would be available later. “Further,” a summary of the report read, “according to Treasury officials, the increased focus on debt limit-related operations as such delays occurred required more time and Treasury resources, and diverted Treasury’s staff away from other important cash and debt management responsibilities.”

Has Congress learned its lesson about the risks of political brinksmanship? Apparently not. For starters, House Speaker John Boehner in May issued the same ultimatum on the debt ceiling that he issued in 2011. He said any debt ceiling increase must be accompanied by an even larger amount of spending cuts.

"The cost of last summer's recklessness by Republicans only continues to grow, yet they seem eager to do it all over again," said Sander Levin, the top Democrat on the House of Representatives' tax-writing committee.

Why can't we just send Mr. Boehner a nice big bill? Or, couldn't we take away his evil, government-run healthcare plan? He should have to pay for wasting money that belongs to the taxpayers.

About Diane Sweet

Diane Sweet's picture
Senior Editor, Lives in a gerrymandered district in Michigan.

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