Senator John Kerry (D-MA), appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday, blamed Republicans and in particular Tea Party intransigence for the unprecedented S&P downgrade of U.S. credit from AAA to AA+.
“I believe this is without question the Tea Party downgrade,” he said. “This is the Tea Party downgrade because a minority of people in the House of Representatives countered the will of even many of Republicans in the United States Senate who were prepared to do a bigger deal.”
Kerry intimated that the “grand bargain” that President Obama initially negotiated with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), a package of larger spending cuts and revenue increases, was scuttled by a smaller group of Republicans who were unwilling to negotiate at any cost.
“There were some people in the Republican party - and Mitch McConnell even admitted this - who wanted to default,” Kerry said. “He said there were people in his party who were willing to shoot the hostage. In the end they found that the hostage was worth ransoming.”
Meanwhile, on ABC’s “This Week,” S&P managing director John Chambers deflected criticism over a $2 trillion accounting error in Friday’s initial rating statement and left open the possibility for a future downgrade in as little as 2 years.
“If the fiscal position of the United States deteriorates further or if the political gridlock becomes more entrenched, then that could lead to a downgrade,” said Chambers. “The outlook indicates at least a 1 in 3 chance of a downgrade over that period.”
The next stage in the saga begins in as little as a week, as leaders of both parties have until August 16 to name their picks to the debt-limit compromise “super committee” which is tasked with cutting an additional $1.5 trillion dollars from the federal deficit.
Igor Bobic is the assistant editor of Talking Points Memo, helping oversee the site's coverage of politics and policy in Washington. While originally from Bosnia and Herzegovina, Igor feels best at home on the beaches of Southern California. He can be reached at email@example.com.