The Republicans say this is a good day. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi calls the bill “adequate.” The Congressional Black Caucus is not pleased with the deal. Of the 95 members of Congress voting againstebt deal, 27 members or more than half of the Congressional Black Caucus (“CBC”) voted against the bill. That speaks volumes. Many of the CBC members believe it’s time that the Democrats stand up for what they believe in. With African Americans suffering disproportionately to the rest of the country, that frustration was felt in the voice and vote of themembers of the CBC. President Obama says this is not the deal he wanted and it is far from perfect. In a telephone call with Valerie Jarrett speaking to many African American bloggers and other reporters, she stated the bill extends the debt limit into 2013 which means the President will not have to go through this dilemma again in his first
term. That’s the only certainty about the bill. We will not default.
A new Super Committee comprised of Democrats and Republicans designated by their party leaders will recommend an additional $1 trillion in cuts including defense and non-defense cuts by Thanksgiving. The bi-partisan committee would recommend cuts to Congress who would have to act by December 23. There are no restrictions on the new Super Committee. Except if the Super Committee ends up in a deadlock, then there is an automatic enforcement mechanism across the board of cuts to spending with no cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Sstamps and any other low income programs.
Senator Bernie Sanders says “This two-part deficit-reduction legislation is complicated, and it is impossible to predict exactly which programs will be cut and by how much because the process requires action by appropriation committees and a new super committee in months to come.” Sanders is also concerned that “when we hear that ‘everything is on the table’ in terms of what this super committee deals with, it will certainly include devastating cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ needs, while protecting the interests of the wealthy and large corporations. “This country needs deficit reduction, but we need to do it in a way that is fair and which will result in economic growth and job creation, says Sanders.
And because of all the uncertainty surrounding the new Super Committee which has no restrictions, there is no way to know with certainty what the law makers will do in terms of cuts down the road. For many lawmakers, it’s hard to know which way to vote when you don’t know which way the wind is blowing. And right now, we have no way to know where this new super committee will take us. The answer is blowing in the wind.
And whatever happened to job creation and economic growth? While the country needs deficit reduction, it also needs economic growth and job creation. Unemployment is still at a high and jobs are at a low. The July jobs figures are expected to be released on Friday, August 5. Whether this bill will help with jobs or unemployment is not made clear. Congressman Jim Moran (D. VA) calls it a job killer. One thing is clear. As one lawmaker put it, not one hair on the head of a millionaire will be affected. And that’s not fair to working class families and the middle class who need job creation and economic growth. That’s just plain wrong. Yes, it’s time the Democrats started acting like Democrats.
Debbie Hines is a legal and political commentator who speaks on issues related to gender and race. She also blogs for the Huffington Post.