NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2011

U.S. Senate approves debt ceiling “deal”

By a vote of of sev­en­ty-four to twen­ty-six, the U.S. Sen­ate has put its stamp of approval on the Barack Obama/John Boehn­er debt ceil­ing “deal”.

The roll call from the Pacif­ic North­west was as follows:

Vot­ing Aye: Mur­ray, Cantwell, Wyden, Begich, Bau­cus, Tester, Risch, Crapo, Murkowski

Vot­ing Nay: Merkley

As not­ed above, Jeff Merkley was the only sen­a­tor from the Pacif­ic North­west to cast a vote against the debt ceil­ing vote. We thank him for that. Here’s an excerpt from his strong, well-rea­soned state­ment against the deal:

I have spent the last sev­er­al days immersed in the details of this bud­get deal, try­ing to under­stand its real-world impact on Oregon’s mid­dle class and small busi­ness­es. I have a sin­gle, sim­ple mea­sure to eval­u­ate this pro­pos­al: is it going to cre­ate greater oppor­tu­ni­ties for pros­per­i­ty and suc­cess for work­ing Amer­i­cans? Unfor­tu­nate­ly, I have con­clud­ed that it will not, and so I can­not sup­port it.

He adds:

Our unsus­tain­able deficits are absolute­ly a long-term chal­lenge that we must address.

But mil­lions of Ore­go­ni­ans and Amer­i­cans are out of work right now. And with at least 5 mil­lion fore­clo­sures loom­ing, with the expi­ra­tion of extend­ed unem­ploy­ment ben­e­fits fore­cast to cost half a mil­lion jobs next year, with the pay­roll tax hol­i­day end­ing and cost­ing anoth­er esti­mat­ed 900,000 jobs in 2012, we should be relent­less­ly pre­oc­cu­pied with how to cre­ate more jobs.

Instead, this pack­age will add to the job loss­es, repeat­ing the mis­takes that have caused pro­longed eco­nom­ic slumps in this coun­try and elsewhere.

We’ll be post­ing addi­tion­al excerpts from Merkley’s state­ment against the debt ceil­ing deal through­out the day on In Brief.

Ordi­nar­i­ly, on the occa­sion of a sig­nif­i­cant vote such as this, we would include the pres­i­den­t’s reac­tion. But we know what that’s going to be: more plat­i­tudes and emp­ty promis­es. So instead, we’d like to salute one of the oth­er five Democ­rats besides Sen­a­tor Merkley who vot­ed no: Sen­a­tor Robert Menen­dez of New Jersey.

Sen­a­tor Menen­dez deliv­ered a pow­er­ful, thought­ful, inspir­ing speech against the debt ceil­ing deal on the Sen­ate floor just a cou­ple of days ago. Here’s one of the best parts of his address, which reviews why the deal is flawed:

Mr. Pres­i­dent, there is no bal­ance in this agree­ment — no com­pro­mise. It sim­ply does not force shared sac­ri­fice as the Amer­i­can peo­ple have demanded.

Oil com­pa­nies will keep pick­ing the pock­et of Amer­i­can tax­pay­ers with ridicu­lous hand­outs while they earn $143 bil­lion in profits.

Ethanol mil­lion­aires will be off the hook with this deal.

There is no bal­ance in this deal.

There is no fair­ness. There is noth­ing but con­ces­sions to the rad­i­cal right wing of the Repub­li­can Par­ty that is hold­ing the Amer­i­can econ­o­my hostage – a gun to its head – threat­en­ing to the pull the trig­ger if they don’t get their way.

And yet, no one on the right seems to be hap­py. They want more. They don’t believe they have got­ten enough.

Mr. Pres­i­dent, when is enough – enough?

How far do we have to bend before we break?

How much do we have to give of our val­ues, our beliefs, our vision of America?

How much do we have to give of the promis­es we have made as a nation to the hard-work­ing mid­dle class fam­i­lies strug­gling to make ends meet …strug­gling to pay the bills, the mort­gage – pay for health care and tuition to put their chil­dren through col­lege and give them a chance at a bet­ter life?

How about those whose lives would be shat­tered except for the government’s protection?

We are their voice… and I speak for them when I say this is not a fair deal, but it is the deal before us.

The debt ceil­ing deal was cer­tain­ly nei­ther fair nor square.

Barack Oba­ma keeps talk­ing about bal­ance, keeps talk­ing about ask­ing bil­lion­aires and mil­lion­aires to pay their fair share, keeps say­ing the plans offered by Repub­li­cans are one-sided, and yet he was­n’t any able to secure any new or restored rev­enue as part of the deal that he nego­ti­at­ed. Repub­li­cans came away crow­ing that they got “nine­ty-eight per­cent” of what they wanted.

Their atti­tude tells us all we need to know about this deal. It’s capit­u­la­tion on the part of the pres­i­dent and all the Democ­rats in Con­gress will­ing to go along with him — includ­ing, sad­ly, our own Sen­a­tors, Pat­ty Mur­ray and Maria Cantwell.

POSTSCRIPT: The oth­er Democ­rats who vot­ed no were Kirsten Gilli­brand of New York, Tom Harkin of Iowa, Frank Laut­en­berg of New Jer­sey, and Ben Nel­son of Nebras­ka. Bernie Sanders of Ver­mont, though not a Demo­c­rat, was also a no.

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One Comment

  1. Not that it did any good, I phoned mur­rary, cantwell and mcder­motts office the days before and after the vote and gave mur­ray and cantwells aides an ear­ful, I said they might as well hang an R around their neck if their going to give the pukes every­thing and vote with them too, I also men­tioned that no mat­ter which cor­po­ra­tions finance the cam­paigns, we the peo­ple are the ones who vote them in and who they are answer­able too.,
    I swear, this is all by design, nobody is as will­ful­ly igno­rant of basic econ­im­ics as the puke­bag­gers pre­tend to be, they know exact­ly the out­comes of these poli­cies, more finan­cial stratification/inequality and less acuontabil­i­ty, and guar­an­teed con­tin­u­al feed­ing of the crony­is­tic MIC.
    Jim McDer­mott (rep for Seat­tle et.al.),to his cred­it, vot­ed against, and I thanked his aide for stand­ing with the people.

    # by RadarRacerX :: August 3rd, 2011 at 2:40 PM