Politics

GOP Sen. Ron Johnson on debt deal: ‘Disgusting’

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Jeff Poor
Media Reporter

Late Sunday, it looked like a deal had been reached, and many on Capitol Hill were breathing a sigh of relief. But not everyone was exactly jumping for joy.

On Sunday night’s special edition of “On the Record with Greta van Susteren” on the Fox News Channel, Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson expressed his frustration over the deal by calling it “disgusting.”

“Even right now we are supposedly talking about a deal that will be $2.4-trillion worth,” Johnson said. “Think about what that is: $2.4-million-million worth. You just have a couple people negotiating this. I mean, it is ridiculous. We’re talking about the federal government’s budget here.”

One of the problems, he said, was that the deal didn’t meet the rating agencies’ requirements for the federal government to hold on to its pristine debt rating.

“Here’s the first problem — the rating agencies, everybody is keying in on that,” Johnson said. “You know, they say we need $4 trillion, you know, to afford it, to avoid a downgrade in our debt. This is only going to be about $2.4 trillion.”

The freshman Wisconsin Republican, who was an accountant before coming to Washington, said there was some fuzzy math in the first few years of the deal.

“Let’s put it a different way then: What is happening right now is we have doubled spending in just the last 10 years,” Johnson said. “Ten years ago we spent $1.8 trillion. This year we will spend $3.6 trillion, and more. What the president’s budget would do after 10 years: Increase that from $3.7 to $5.7 trillion. He would spend $46 trillion. And all we are doing is lowering that by, what, $900 billion?

“We have got to begin controlling spending in Washington. This is business as usual. I mean, this is a spending culture in Washington and it is bankrupting America. I came here to see if I could do something about changing this culture.”

The problem with the deal, he said, was that it was too small on a relative basis.

“This is totally inadequate,” Johnson said. “You know, it’s sad: It may be a step in the right direction but it is not fixing the problem. And you know, again it’s not about the August 2 deadline. It’s about the amount of spending and debt that this country is incurring. It’s really the debt in relationship to the size of our economy. If our economy was $100 trillion large, $14 trillion wouldn’t be a problem. But our economy is only $14.8 trillion. And that is the problem. We have way too much debt for the size of our economy.”