Central Brooklyn Congress members Ed Towns and Yvette Clarke both voted against raising the debt ceiling $2.4 trillion until 2013 in return for cutting $2.4 trillion in government spending over 10 years because it also includes with no new taxes on the wealthy and larger corporations.
Under what President Obama and a majority of congressional leaders who voted for the bill labeled a “compromise that nobody was happy with”, a new joint congressional committee to recommend broad changes in federal spending and possibly an increase in taxes will also be formed.
“I am deeply dismayed that the compromise reached to raise the debt ceiling included no revenue-raising provisions, but instead was laced with trillions of dollars in cuts to vital domestic programs,” said Towns after casting his no vote.
Towns said that so-called compromise opens the door to lowering domestic discretionary spending to the lowest level since President Eisenhower was in office, and the cuts could have a devastating impact on the already fragile-economy.
“While programs that help economically disadvantaged individuals have been spared from the special committee’s consideration, cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare are still on the chopping block while tax reform may not have necessarily been included,” he said.
Clarke said the bill as passed shows no sense of shared sacrifices and it does not address revenues, a key component required to achieve economic stability and to reduce the nation’s deficit.
“The legislation makes spending cuts which is ultimately at the expense of our working poor and middle class, while asking nothing of the wealthiest Americans,” said Clarke. “To add insult to injury, there is the exemption of the overseas contingency funds that fuels the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which has been totally exempted from the provisions of this legislation.”
Clarke said while Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are protected in the initial phase of this deal, there are no guarantees that the special deficit reduction committee will leave these American lifelines, entitlement programs intact in future negotiations.
Clarke said in her district over 30,000 people receive some form of social services income benefits, over 72,000 residents receive Social Security, Old Age, Survivor and Disability Insurance (OASDI) benefits and over 70,000 people are enrolled for Medicare.
“The truth of the matter is the Republican/Tea Party has taken the American economy hostage during a simple procedural vote required to raise our nation’s debt ceiling, which has been done dozens of times under previous administrations,” she said.