After scoring a bigger-than-expected victory in Monday’s debt-limit vote, House Speaker John A. Boehner took a victory lap Tuesday, crowing that the deal met his chief goal: it matched the debt increase dollar-for-dollar with future spending limits.
In an email to reporters, Mr. Boehner’s office pointed out the many naysayers who had said it was a reach too far, ranging from editorial writers and Democratic strategists up to the president’s spokesman, Jay Carney, who called the goal “dangerously arbitrary.”
Mr. Boehner laid out his dollar-for-dollar goal in a May 9 speech, coming soon after President Obama’s own April do-over budget speech.
The White House at the time was arguing that the debt limit extension should be “clean,” meaning no conditions attached. Not only did he reject that but, in his speech, Mr. Boehner went a step further, demanding the dollar-for-dollar trade-off.
This week’s deal includes a debt increase of up to $2.4 trillion in various stages, coupled with cuts of the same amount for every stage. For example, if the super committee envisioned in the bill is unable to find the full $1.5 trillion in savings it is supposed to identify, automatic cuts of $1.2 trillion will go into effect — and the allowable debt increase would also be smaller.