Debt-ceiling compromise generates mixed reaction

By David O. Williams
Real AspenAugust 1, 2011
Colorado’s Democratic leadership today was cautiously optimistic and somewhat supportive of weekend efforts to hammer out a debt-ceiling compromise – a deal that’s gaining momentum and could be voted on as soon as today in the U.S. Senate.

“The news of a potential framework for a solution to our debt ceiling crisis is a promising development,” Colorado Democratic Party Chairman Rick Palacio’s said in a release. “President Obama’s commitment to a serious and sensible agreement gives us renewed hope that by working together, we can responsibly address our nation’s challenges on this issue, and any other that our country faces.”

Some progressive members of the Democratic Party, however, have blasted the compromise, which exchanges higher taxes on the wealthiest Americans and deeper spending cuts for an extension on treasury borrowing until after the 2012 election. That means the administration won’t have to revisit the spending issue until President Barack Obama stands for re-election.

“This deal trades people’s livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it,” Rep. Raul Grijalva of Arizona, chairman of the House Progressive Caucus, told the Associated Press. “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.”

However, it’s increasingly looking like the Senate, which over the weekend rejected a plan by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., will pass the compromise deal.

Still, the New York Times blasted the compromise in an editorial today:

“There is little to like about the tentative agreement between Congressional leaders and the White House except that it happened at all. The deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery.”

Predictably, Tea Party Republicans from Colorado were touting an historic victory:

“The House has played a constructive role in the debt negotiations, pushing for spending cuts that never would have been imagined just 6 months ago,” Colorado GOP freshman Cory Gardner wrote in his weekly newsletter. “Our progress with regard to cutting spending is nothing less than historic. We are successfully changing Washington’s spending culture by shrinking the size of the federal government, which has done nothing but grow for the past 40 years.”

It’s estimated the compromise will trim up to $2.4 trillion in spending over the next decade.

U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette, D-Denver, Colorado’s senior member of Congress, blasted House Republicans over the weekend for symbolically rejecting Reid’s plan.

“I am deeply disappointed that with so little time left before our nation defaults on its obligations the Republican leaders have chosen to waste precious time with this political stunt,” DeGette said. “Once again they are showing the American people they will continue to place their ‘my way or the highway’ intransigence above the good of the country. Our nation cannot continue to bear this irresponsibility.”


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