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Black Caucus, progressives to oppose debt deal

By Kase Wickman
Sunday, July 31, 2011 21:39 EDT
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“The leaders of both parties in both chambers have reached an agreement that will reduce the deficit and avoid default,” President Barack Obama said in a brief statement to the press Sunday night at the White House. Just because Obama has House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) in agreement, the vote on the plan, scheduled for Monday, is not necessarily a done deal.

Not only will Boehner have to convince more than half of the House’s 240 Republican members to vote in favor of the bill, but problems lurk within the chamber’s blue seats as well.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that she would have to speak to her members and look at the deal more closely before assuring votes.

“We all may not be able to support it — or none of us may be able to support it,” she told Bloomberg.

The Progressive Caucus and the Black Caucus have scheduled a press conference for Monday to outline why they are opposed to the deal, which would raise the debt ceiling and cut around $1 trillion in spending over the next decade.

“This deal does not even attempt to strike a balance between more cuts for the working people of America and a fairer contribution from millionaires and corporations,” Progressive Caucus leader Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said in a statement Sunday night. “I will not be a part of it.”

The Black Caucus Sunday released a letter urging Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment and take the debt crisis into his own hands, something the president had said he was unwilling to do.

In a floor speech Sunday prior to the deal announcement, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) encouraged the same.

Trouble also lurks, more familiarly, to Obama’s right.

“This isn’t the greatest deal in the world,” Boehner said in a statement Sunday night, urging a vote as soon as possible. “But it shows how much we’ve changed the terms of the debate in this town.”

Boehner and other conservatives have faced resistance from those Republicans who represent tea party ideals. Tomorrow’s vote is sure to be another tea party standoff.

“I’m afraid this is not going to fix the problem, and that’s the one reason I came here,” Sen. Ron Johnson (R-TX), who was elected by tea party constituents.

Obama, for one, realized that the vote has not happened yet, and encouraged Americans to continue to contact their members of Congress to express support for the plan.

“We’re not done yet,” he said Sunday night.

Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman
Kase Wickman is a reporter for Raw Story. She holds a journalism degree from Boston University and grew up in Eugene, OR. Her work has been featured in The Boston Globe, Village Voice Media, The Christian Science Monitor, The Houston Chronicle and on NPR, among others. She lives in New York City and tweets from @kasewickman.
 
 
 
 
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