By Jake Sherman and Seung Min Kim (Politico)
Hello, Washington. It’s the real world calling. A disaster is coming. Can you do something — anything — to stop the bleeding?
Crisis after crisis this year, Washington has responded with a simple shoulder shrug.
Farm bureaus, financial credit rating agencies, Wall Street, the defense industry, chambers of commerce and postal groups have all sounded the alarm bell warning D.C. about all manner of debt, spending and tax crises. They’ve largely failed to spur the action they were seeking.
The latest get-it-together moment came Tuesday, when Moody’s — one agency that has not downgraded the nation’s credit — warned that it could lower the rating unless Washington came together to agree on a budget package in 2013 that significantly cut the nation’s debt. The agency’s caution signal came ahead of the so-called fiscal cliff — a massive package of tax increases and spending cuts set to go into effect after this year unless Congress reaches an agreement to avert it.
Moody’s, one of the three main ratings agencies, also warned that it would most likely keep its “negative” outlook on the nation’s debt — a move that could precede a credit downgrade — if the United States fell off the fiscal cliff.
Here was House Speaker John Boehner’s reaction.
“I’m not confident at all,” Boehner (R-Ohio) said about the prospects of the deal, noting that the House has done one-third of the work that needs to be done to stabilize the debt.