The Congressional Progressive Caucus and the Congressional Black Caucus are none too happy about the deal that’s shaping up to avert a national default on August 2. Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, released the following statement today on the emerging debt deal via email:
“This deal trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it. Progressives have been organizing for months to oppose any scheme that cuts Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security, and it now seems clear that even these bedrock pillars of the American success story are on the chopping block. Even if this deal were not as bad as it is, this would be enough for me to fight against its passage. This deal does not even attempt to strike a balance between more cuts for the working people of America and a fairer contribution from millionaires and corporations. The very wealthy will continue to receive taxpayer handouts, and corporations will keep their expensive federal giveaways. Meanwhile, millions of families unfairly lose more in this deal than they have already lost. I will not be a part of it. Republicans have succeeded in imposing their vision of a country without real economic hope. Their message has no public appeal, and Democrats have had every opportunity to stand firm in the face of their irrational demands. Progressives have been rallying support for the successful government programs that have meant health and economic security to generations of our people. Today we, and everyone we have worked to speak for and fight for, were thrown under the bus. We have made our bottom line clear for months: a final deal must strike a balance between cuts and revenue, and must not put all the burden on the working people of this country. This deal fails those tests and many more. The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican Party, is at a very serious crossroads at this moment.
For decades Democrats have stood for a capable, meaningful government – a government that works for the people, not just the powerful, and that represents everyone fairly and equally. This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return. The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want. While I believe the country will not reward them for this in the long run, the damage has already been done. A clean debt ceiling vote was the obvious way out of this, and many House Democrats have been saying so. Had that vote failed, the president should have exercised his Fourteenth Amendment responsibilities and ended this manufactured crisis. This deal is a cure as bad as the disease. I reject it, and the American people reject it. The only thing left to do now is repair the damage as soon as possible.”
It should be noted that CPC has also called an emergency meeting for Monday. Minority Leader of the House Nancy Pelosi is also saying she doesn’t think the votes are there to pass a deal tonight. No matter what, this mess will live another day. I would urge voters out there to note how their elected officials are voting in this matter. If their vote doesn’t meet your views, then vote against them in the next election, if they run. We all know that many of the 87 new elected officials in Congress really don’t give a hoot about their constituents or even being re-elected.
I will be the first to say that we need to cut spending and increase revenue, but can we? We are no longer a manufacturing society. We are now a service society, outsourcing even the kitchen sink. We will never be able to fight the demons of runaway spending and high deficits if we don’t find a way to create more revenue and not at the expense of the poor and middle class. It should be noted that only one other country in this world has a debt ceiling — Denmark — and it is set high enough that they don’t expect to exceed it in the near or distant future. Why are we as a country allowing our debt ceiling to be constantly raised without fixing the problems that got us in this mess to begin with?