Senate Banking looks into downgrade

The Senate Banking Committee is looking into Standard & Poor's decision to downgrade the United States' credit rating.

Following S&P's decision Friday night to reduce the nation's credit standing from AAA to AA+, the panel has begun gathering information about the downgrade, according to a committee aide.

The unprecedented downgrade of the nation's debt roiled financial markets Monday, and S&P was subject to fierce criticism from Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.).

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"As the financial markets stumble, investors continue to regard Treasury debt as a safe haven in times of economic uncertainty. This irresponsible move by S&P may, however, have spillover effects that tax the American people by increasing interest rates on home loans, credit cards, and car loans, and by increasing the cost of finance for some state and local governments," he said in a Monday statement. "I am deeply disappointed in S&P’s decision to enter into the game of political punditry.”

Johnson joins Obama administration officials in levying harsh charges at the rater.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said the rater showed "really terrible judgment" in the downgrade, and his deputies have accused S&P of making fundamental calculation errors in their original downgrade rationale. S&P later removed those calculations from the public announcement.

"They've shown a stunning lack of knowledge about basic U.S. fiscal budget math. And I think they drew exactly the wrong conclusion from this budget agreement," Geithner said in an interview with NBC News.


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