Monday, August 1, 2011

Bad Deal Done

No, the surprise appearance of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords does not make me feel any better about it.


Still, scores of progressive Democrats and conservative Republicans voted against the legislation, which ultimately passed 269-161. Democrats split evenly: 95-95. The Republicans broke down 174-66. Though House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) voted for the legislation, they did allowed members to vote their conscience. And in a sign of Pelosi's underlying disapproval of the measure, her top allies, including Reps George Miller (D-CA) and Henry Waxman (D-CA) ultimately voted no.

The measure is meant to slash $2 trillion from the deficit. Most of those savings, if not all, will come from cuts to domestic and defense spending. The bill guarantees no tax increases.

The Senate will take up the legislation Tuesday. Though a time has not yet been set for that vote, its path to passage is much clearer in the upper chamber, where partisan divisions over taxes and government spending on key social programs have not called into question the imperative of avoiding default.

The leader of the Democratic no votes is Rep. Raul Grijalva, co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, who today released the following statement 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.”

Digby nails it:

It's pretty much a combination of the worst aspects of all the Republican plans that have been floated.


For me this isn't a shocking disappointment. I have felt that this whole process was a disaster from the beginning and it really doesn't matter to me if the Democrats eke out a couple of concessions about defense cuts or close a few loopholes "in return" for these cuts. That isn't "shared sacrifice," it's asking the poorest, oldest and sickest among us to give up a piece of their meager security in exchange for the wealthy giving up some tip money and the defense industry giving up a couple of points of profit. It's stripping the nation of necessary educational, safety and environmental protections while the wealthy greedily absorb more and more of the nation's wealth and the corporations and financial industry gamble with the rest.

The idea that they are even talking about this at a time of nearly 10% official unemployment with the economy looking like it's going back into recession (if it ever left) makes this debate surreal and bizarre. To cut the safety net and shred discretionary spending in massive numbers at a time like this is mind boggling. That it's happening under a Democratic President and a Democratic Senate is profoundly depressing.

But it's happening. And sadly, I still think it will be mostly Democrats who end up voting for it.

And by the way, David Plouffe and The President really, really need to stop saying that progressives should want to do this bullshit. It's insulting ... and blindingly infuriating.

And don't hold your breath waiting for a jobs program - there won't be a dime for discretionary spending for the next decade at least.

Liberals don't think paying ransom only to have the hostage killed anyway is a "resolution" anyone should celebrate.

1 comment:

Tom B said...

Great post YD. I plan to link to it for the benefit of my two regular readers at my home place.