Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) voted against the debt deal that passed the House 269-161 yesterday and passed the Senate 74-26 this afternoon.
In a statement, Moran said he opposed the deal due to its lack of tax increases.
The debt ceiling has been raised cleanly 39 times over the last 30 years, 18 times by President Reagan alone. But for the first time ever, a deal has had to be negotiated to raise the debt ceiling and prevent a default. Unfortunately, the proposal we are being asked to vote on would be bad for our country. It should be rejected, and President Obama should take matters into his own hands by invoking the 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling.
This deal is not representative of a balanced approach to long-term deficit reduction. By leaving revenue entirely off the table, the agreement severely restricts the government’s ability to make investments in the human and physical capital of this country – investments that created the strongest middle class in the world and made our country the most powerful.
At a time of stagnant growth and high unemployment, the far-right of the Republican party has been able to hold our economic security hostage in exchange for deep cuts that will reduce growth and employment and increase inequality in the short term without properly addressing the structural causes behind our long-term deficits.
Government spending currently equals roughly 25 percent of GDP, while revenues being collected are at an historically low 15 percent of GDP. This gap, which represents our yearly deficit, is unsustainable – and despite the rhetoric cannot be bridged by spending cuts alone. Under the Clinton tax rates that prevailed during the 1990s the economy created a record number of jobs and the government actually ran a surplus for over two years, leaving a projected surplus through 2011 of $2.3 trillion. These budget deals included spending cuts and new revenues and should be the model we follow today. Unfortunately, the balanced budgets and growing surplus that were paying down the debt were destroyed through the reckless mismanagement of the Bush Administration and a Republican controlled Congress that undertook two wars, two massive tax cuts, and a Medicare prescription drug program which pays retail rather than negotiated prices. None of these policies were paid for with either equivalent spending cuts or new sources of revenue. And following the Great Recession, caused in large part by deregulation and the lack of oversight of our banking system, we are where we are today.
This agreement, unfortunately, validates the political strategy of those Republican radicals who were willing to create default and economic chaos in order to avoid true compromise and a balanced approach. Their brinksmanship has eroded the global confidence in our system of government, a confidence that made the dollar the global reserve currency and the Treasury Bill the world’s safest investment. Should this deal be enacted, which looks likely, it will have a lasting negative effect on our economy, prevent investment in our infrastructure and weaken our economic competitiveness.