Debt Ceiling Bill Approved in House with Support of Six Wisconsin Members

Tuesday, August 2, 2011 at 1:52 AM by

Liberal Groups Express Strong Concerns and Disappointment

The U.S. House voted early this evening to approve the compromise on the debt ceiling bill, by a vote of 269 to 161. Among House Republicans, 174 voted yes – including all five Wisconsin Republicans – and 66 voted no. Democrats split evenly on the bill, with 95 yes votes and 95 no votes. Among Wisconsin’s Democrats, Kind voted yes, Baldwin voted no, and apparently Rep. Moore was absent.

Many progressives have been expressing great disappointment in the bill. Lawrence Mishel, President of the Economic Policy Institute, said it will do great harm to our nation. In a statement today, he added:

“There is no economic necessity to undertake spending cuts or deficit reduction plans at this point in the economic recovery, when high unemployment is expected to persist for several more years. Jobs should be the priority and jobs are the path to get our nation’s fiscal situation to a responsible place.”

Robert Greenstein, President of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, expressed somewhat similar concerns, though he argued against the bill’s defeat.  Read his statement here. 

“The new debt ceiling agreement will achieve the essential goal of avoiding a potentially catastrophic default in the days ahead. But to say that the deal is likely to lead to highly unbalanced results would be an understatement. The deal places the nation on a disturbing policy course and sets what may become important precedents that are cause for serious concern. …… Our grim assessment of the agreement, its very disturbing implications, and the policy and political trajectory that we now face are not arguments for defeating the agreement on Capitol Hill. There is an adage that, as bad as things get, they can always get worse.”

Paul Krugman’s column in the NY Times today was even more critical:

“The worst thing you can do in these circumstances is slash government spending, since that will depress the economy even further. …those demanding spending cuts now are like medieval doctors who treated the sick by bleeding them, and thereby made them even sicker.” 

Although nearly three-fourths of House Republicans supported the compromise, a number of the most conservative Republicans, including some of the Presidential candidates are opposing it. In addition, Wisconsin Senator Ron Johnson announced his opposition, saying the bill falls “far short of serious reform.”

A fact sheet by the White House makes their case for the compromise.

Jon Peacock

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