Barbara Lee

Opposing the Debt Deal - Aug. 1, 2011

Barbara Lee
August 01, 2011— Washington, DC
Press conference
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Let me thank you for your leadership and Congressman Ellison for bringing together the Progressive Caucus to once again come forward and be the voice of the American people. None of us want to see our nation default, but after having reviewed this deal in detail, for a number of reasons I am simply unable to support it. I associate myself with all of the remarks that have been made already.

It totally fails to address the urgent and most pressing crises in our country: the lack of jobs and economic growth. At a time when investments are needed to jump start our economy and put people back to work, I believe that this deal and its cuts-only approach—which is what it is, cuts only—that is the wrong approach.

Clearly allowing the false link between the debt ceiling and the deficit to gain any credibility, I believe, was a mistake. And it is an outrage that as we stand here today, a clean debt ceiling vote and a reasonable and balanced approach to deficit reduction is what has been long required.

Secondly, while I can appreciate that some provisions to limit the impact of the cuts were included, the bill falls short, very short, of achieving the balance necessary. The hard reality is that the cuts of this size will likely result in massive cuts to vital human needs and safety net programs and will cripple our ability to help our most vulnerable communities including seniors, the poor, and low income people who are struggling each and every day just to get by. It includes no revenues and no guarantee of revenues going forward. With over 45 million people living in poverty and the wealth gap at astronomical levels in communities of color, we must demand—mind you, demand—that the super-rich and big oil and big corporations that enjoy tax giveaways and loopholes also contribute to this deficit reduction.

Finally, it is entirely unacceptable to me that this deal would open the door to cuts in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Enough is enough. We cannot allow the extreme Tea Party Republicans to advance their agenda to dismantle our government while rewarding their extreme tactics with this bad deal.

I continue to support the President using the 14th amendment, if necessary, to raise the debt ceiling, and I will be voting no. Thank you.