Richmond, VA- Kaine for Virginia today released a new video entitled "Great Opportunity" highlighting the significant role George Allen played in creating the fiscal mess that forced last summer's debt ceiling compromise and his continued efforts to use the threat of more than 200,000 Virginia jobs lost for political gain. Already, the nation's credit rating has been downgraded for the first time in history as a result of the political brinkmanship George Allen and others played. In addition, a GAO report released yesterday found that last summer's gridlock in Washington, cheered on by George Allen, cost taxpayers $1.3 billion. If the nation had continued down the path pursued by George Allen and his allies, the country would have defaulted for the first time in U.S. history.
As the video points out, "George Allen's votes for $3 trillion in new debt and four votes to raise the debt ceiling helped get us into this mess. Now, he's playing politics instead of joining efforts to help get us out. Virginia just can't afford to take another chance on George Allen."
In addition to the video, Kaine for Virginia Communications Director Brandi Hoffine released the following response:
"Let's be clear how we got here. As a U.S. senator, George Allen took a record budget surplus and turned it into a massive deficit, voted for trillions in new spending, and voted four times to raise the debt ceiling without cutting a dime in spending. He helped create the crisis and now, instead of joining a bipartisan effort to fix it, he's cheering on gridlock and opposing compromise. Just this past weekend, George Allen rejected a deal of ten dollars in cuts to a dollar in new revenue -- a position so extreme that even leaders in his own party refuse to support his stance. Allen's approach would slash spending on key programs, including defense, that are vital to Virginia's economy and Virginia workers.
"Virginians deserve a senator who will work across the aisle to find balanced, bipartisan solutions that will ensure the interests of Virginians and our nation's armed forces are protected. Virginians do not need to bring back a senator who helped create our fiscal problems, voted repeatedly to raise our debt ceiling, and then tried to use the threat of default for political gain. Only one candidate in this race has a track record of working across the aisle to find solutions to keep our fiscal house in order: Tim Kaine."
ALLEN PLAYED KEY ROLE IN CREATING THE MESS WE’RE IN
Allen Voted to Raise the Debt Limit Four Times. [Vote 148, 6/11/02; Vote 202, 5/23/03; Vote 213, 11/17/04; Vote 54, 3/16/06]
As Senator, Allen Voted To Add Over $3 Trillion To The National Debt.PolitiFact Virginia wrote, “Under the budgets approved during Allen’s term, debt climbed by $3.202 trillion. Congress sets budgets through a series of appropriations bills, and Allen supported all of the roughly four dozen bills to hit the Senate floor during his term. . . . Radtke said debt increased by $3 trillion during Allen’s Senate term, a figure equal to $16,000 per second. The actual figures were $3.202 trillion, or $16,896.68 per second.” [Richmond Times-Dispatch, “PolitiFact Virginia,” 4/15/11]
Allen: “Debt Ceiling Vote, As Dangerous As Some People Say It Is, It Is A Great Opportunity.”In an interview with Neil Cavuto on Fox Business, Allen said, “I actually think that this debt ceiling vote, as dangerous as some people say it is, it is a great opportunity. It is leverage that we conservatives have to say, ‘if you want us to vote for this, there needs to be real cuts, real cuts, not fake cuts, not nice words, not platitudes, real cuts, and if you don’t get it, we’re not going to vote for that debt ceiling increase.’” [Fox Business, 5/13/11]
Allen: “This Debt Ceiling Vote is a Key Place Where We Have Leverage.”At a campaign event in Staunton, Allen said: “This debt-ceiling vote is a key place where we have leverage. . . . I think it has to be coupled with truly ironclad reductions in spending. If they don’t, then they’re not going to get the votes. And so I look at this as a really important leverage point.” [George Allen at Staunton Campaign Event, 5/2/11]
Government Accountability Office: Debt Limit Fight Cost $1.3 Billion. A GAO report stated: "Delays in raising the debt limit can create uncertainty in the Treasury market and lead to higher Treasury borrowing costs. GAO estimated that delays in raising the debt limit in 2011 led to an increase in Treasury's borrowing costs of about $1.3 billion in fiscal year 2011." [GAO, 7/23/12]
Washington Post: Allen’s “Cynical Flip-Flop” On Debt Limit Would Have Led To Default. In August 2011, the Washington Post criticized Allen in an editorial headlined, “An Early Flip-Flop For Senate Candidate George Allen.” The Post wrote, “As a one-term Republican senator, George Allen voted four times to raise the nation’s debt ceiling — an expansion totaling $3.2 trillion — explaining at one point that, while it was unpleasant, increasing the limit was the responsible thing to do. . . . A spokesman confirms that Mr. Allen, had he been in the Senate, would have voted Tuesday with the minority to defeat the deal. So much for Mr. Allen’s erstwhile concern for doing the responsible thing. Mr. Allen’s cynical flip-flop can be seen partly in the context of Virginia’s Republican primary for the Senate, in which he faces former state Tea Party head Jamie Radtke, whose bona fides as a debt-ceiling diehard are unassailable. . . . [B]y insisting that a balanced-budget amendment be included in any deal, he sets the bar beyond the realm of political reality. In effect, Mr. Allen’s stance was no less likely to lead to default than Ms. Radtke’s. . . . Even as he condemned the debt deal, his fellow Virginia Republicans, including Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, were supporting it.” [Editorial, Washington Post, 8/3/11]
S&P BLAMED POLITICAL BRINKMANSHIP FOR CREDIT RATING DOWNGRADE
S&P Stated The U.S. Downgrade Was Due To “Political Brinksmanship,” In Which “The Threat Of Default” Had “Become Political Bargaining Chips.”In their statement announcing the downgrade of the U.S. credit rating, S&P stated, “The political brinksmanship of recent months highlights what we see as America's governance and policymaking becoming less stable, less effective, and less predictable than what we previously believed. The statutory debt ceiling and the threat of default have become political bargaining chips in the debate over fiscal policy.” [S&P Statement On Credit Rating Downgrade, 8/5/11]
S&P: Downgrade Caused In Part By Fact That “Republicans In Congress Continue To Resist Any Measure That Would Raise Revenues.”ABC News reported, “[S&P] pointed to political reluctance to make cuts to entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security, and Republicans' refusal even to consider increasing revenues by, for instance, ending the Bush tax cuts. ‘Compared with previous projections, our revised base case scenario now assumes that the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, due to expire by the end of 2012, remain in place,’ the company said. ‘We have changed our assumption on this because the majority of Republicans in Congress continue to resist any measure that would raise revenues, a position we believe Congress reinforced by passing the [debt ceiling deal].’” [ABC News, 8/5/11]
EVEN FELLOW REPUBLICANS HAVE REJECTED ALLEN’S EXTREME POSITION
Washington Examiner: “[Allen] Would Not Back A Plan Of $10 In Cuts For Every $1 In New Revenue.” The Washington Examiner wrote, “Allen, who Democrats noted was in the Senate when Congress turned a surplus into a deficit, said Saturday that he would not back a plan of $10 in cuts for every $1 in new revenue. ‘George Allen saying even if it were 10-to-1 he wouldn't consider [new] revenue is part of the problem,’ Connolly said.” [Washington Examiner, 7/23/12]
Sen. Graham Endorsed $4 In Cuts For $1 In Revenue. According to The Hill, "Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said Tuesday he believed Republicans should consider eliminating loopholes in the tax code even if they aren't replaced by additional tax cuts, a move that would break with an anti-tax pledge many GOP lawmakers have signed with activist Grover Norquist. 'When you talk about eliminating deductions and tax credits for the few, at the expense of the many, I think over time the Republican Party's position is going to shift. It needs to, quite frankly, because we are $16 trillion in debt,' he said. 'I'm willing to move my party, or try to, on the tax issue. I need someone on the Democratic side being willing to move their party on structural changes to entitlements.' Graham said, for instance, he would support a plan that included $4 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. During a Republican debate last August, all eight Republican candidates in attendance said they would reject a proposal to trade $10 in spending cuts for even $1 in tax increases. 'We're so far in debt, that if you don't give up some ideological ground, the country sinks,' said Graham. Graham is the second prominent Republican to come out against rigid adherence to Norquist's pledge this month. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R) told the House Budget Committee he would accept the plan rejected by the Republican candidates." [The Hill, 6/12/12]
Jeb Bush Endorsed $10 In Cuts For Every $1 In Revenue. According to Bloomberg News, "Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, in a break with his party, said he could support tax increases to help reduce the federal government’s budget deficit. The brother of former President George W. Bush told a congressional panel in Washington today that he could back a theoretical deficit-reduction package that would include $1 in tax increases for every $10 in spending cuts. 'If you could bring to me a majority of people to say that we’re going to have $10 in spending cuts for $1 of revenue enhancement -- put me in, coach,' Bush told the House Budget Committee. 'This will prove I’m not running for anything,' he said, prompting laughter from lawmakers and the audience." [Bloomberg News, 6/1/12]
ALLEN’S APPROACH WOULD LEAD TO DEFENSE CUTS
Speaker Boehner Said If The House Didn’t Pass The Debt Ceiling Deal, “It Is Pretty Clear To Me What Happens, Is The Defense Number Will Go Down.” In a press conference preceding the House passage of the debt ceiling deal, Republican House Speaker John Boehner said, “I just met with all the members of our Armed Services Committee, they clearly had some concerns about the defense numbers in this bill. But as I told them, this is the best defense number we are going to get. And, frankly, if we don't pass a bill, it is pretty clear to me what will happen, is the defense number will go down. And so I believe many of our members from the Armed Services Committee will be supporting the work of the House.” [House GOP Press Conference, 8/1/11]
Wall Street Journal Editorial Said The Inevitable Consequence Of Republicans’ Cut, Cap & Balance Act Would Likely Be Defense Cuts. In an editorial criticizing the Cut, Cap and Balance Act’s balanced budget amendment, the Wall Street Journal wrote that it was not “clear that the amendment could avoid unintended consequences. In the current fight over spending and the debt, the GOP Congressional leadership has worked well to protect the defense budget. . . . But under a mandated need to balance spending, the inevitable horse-trading would likely default to cutting defense while ducking fights on domestic programs.” [Editorial, Wall Street Journal, 7/19/11]
Cut, Cap And Balance Would Require A 25 Percent Cut To Everything, Including The Pentagon And Veterans’ Benefits.In an analysis for the Center for American Progress about the spending caps required by the Cut, Cap and Balance plan, Michael Linden and Michael Ettlinger wrote that the plan would only leave “about $3.9 trillion in noninterest spending, from which Congress would have to slash about $1 trillion in order to bring total spending down to 18 percent of GDP. This would require a 25 percent cut to everything in the federal budget—from Social Security to veterans’ benefits to the Pentagon to education.” [Michael Linden and Michael Ettlinger, Center for American Progress, 7/18/11]
Ron Paul Said That It Is “Impossible” For “Cut, Cap and Balance” To Balance The Budget Without Cutting Military Spending. In a speech to the House of Representative, Rep. Ron Paul said, “First, [Cut, Cap And Balance] purports to eventually balance the budget without cutting military spending, Social Security, or Medicare. This is impossible. These three budget items already cost nearly $1 trillion apiece annually. This means we can cut every other area of federal spending to zero and still have a $3 trillion budget. Since annual federal tax revenues almost certainly will not exceed $2.5 trillion for several years, this Act cannot balance the budget under any plausible scenario.” [Congressional Record, 7/20/11]