Today the Congressional Progressive Caucus warned America that the debt deal has trapped us all in the tea party agenda.
In a statement Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva and Rep. Keith Ellison said,
While voting to increase the debt ceiling is a necessary step, the deficit-reduction measures included in this deal will further harm our economy and hurt working Americans. With unemployment still above 9% and stagnating economic growth, taking money out of the economy will only place a heavier burden on working families.
This is the wrong approach for our economy at the wrong time, and it goes against our basic values. For that reason, we and many of our members will be voting no.
Progressives are committed to prosperity for the middle class, and we believe that reasonable deficit reduction can be achieved while advancing our values. But today’s deficit-reduction deal falls short. Republicans have sought to dismantle basic services for average Americans while spending more to support millionaires and corporations.
Tea Party Republicans have held our economy hostage to those demands, but deficit reduction should not be enacted in a hostage situation. We have long said default on the full faith and credit of the United States is unacceptable. If this bill is defeated, we urge the President to use his 14th amendment powers to raise the debt ceiling and avoid default.
We will continue to fight for programs that help working families. During recent weeks the Congressional Progressive Caucus stood with millions of people across the country to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from being cut in the deal being voted on today.
But preventing the worst from happening is not enough. Americans will not stand by while their livelihood comes under attack. We can structure our economy in a way that benefits everybody—not just special interests, and not just the extremely wealthy. We can articulate a vision for the country not based on what America can’t achieve—but what it can. That is the type of leadership Americans expect.
At a press conference Rep. Raúl M. Grijalva expressed the progressive frustration over the deal and said that if the president won’t use his 14th Amendment power, “If the president has to use his unilateral authority given to him in the Constitution he should, and then we can proceed in a calm rational way to look at spending and to look at revenue generation. Absent that, we’re trapped in this tea party agenda. They won, and they should be able to deliver the votes to pass what is essentially their package.”
Rep. Ellison wouldn’t blast President Obama and said the caucus’ dispute with the president is tactical, “President Obama has been given a hand to fight from. He was the president at the time that these people made these unreasonable demands to undermine and basic social services, and actually had Social Security and Medicare in their sights. If we have any dispute, it’s tactical. In principle we know that these are core Democratic values, actually core American values to stand up for basic programs to help America be better off. Let me say finally, we do support the president in using his constitutional executive authority to protect the full faith and credit of the United States.”
The Progressive Caucus is correct on this one. They seem to be the only people on either side who are discussing the damage that this agreement is going to do to our economy, but unlike some on the far left they aren’t willing to place all the blame on Obama. I agree with them completely that the disagreement with Obama is a tactical one. The White House should not have been so eager to get a deal done.
I think that they could have gotten a better deal by waiting the Republicans out, letting the deadline pass, and then threatening to invoke the president’s 14th Amendment powers. It would have been a win-win for Obama. He could have used his executive power as a fail safe against a default, and he could have pressed Republicans for a better deal. As it stands, all sides were too afraid of the consequences of a default to take that risk, so what we ended up with is a bad deal that is going to hurt the economy.