Progressives Recoil At Reported Debt Ceiling Deal

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July 31, 2011 11:45 a.m.

Progressive groups are speaking out against the debt ceiling deal currently being hashed out in Washington. The response from two of the nation’s largest organizations goes essentially like this: really?!?

Progressives are more than a little upset that the deal does not include new revenues upfront, a line in the sand President Obama drew early on in the process and apparently had to abandon as the cogs of the legislative machinery turned hours before the nation went into default. They’re casting the deal outlined on the Sunday talk shows this morning as a huge win for Republicans — and (yet another) agonizing defeat for the left.“Seeing a Democratic president take taxing the rich off the table and instead push a deal that will lead to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefit cuts is like entering a bizarre parallel universe,” said Stephanie Talyor, a co-founder of the Progressive Change Campaign Committee. “One with horrific consequences for middle-class families.”

The PCCC called on Democrats to reject the deal.

“The middle class has sacrificed enough,” she said. “We need jobs, not cuts, to get the economy moving again.”

MoveOn.org shared in the criticism, and called on the White House to renegotiate in favor of a deal that gives Obama’s base something to hang their hat on.

“We urge the White House and all in Congress to keep negotiating for a deal that protects Medicare, Social Security and Medicaid and asks millionaires to pay their fair share,” said Justin Ruben, executive director of MoveOn, “not a deal that creates a back-door way to gut these vital programs.”

Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, progressives were sounding a lot like the groups that represent their interests outside the beltway. That’s not a huge surprise — conservative Republicans have already said they think the deal doesn’t go far enough, and it’s likely they’ll vote against whatever the negotiators come up with. It’s the same story with the left. The deal doesn’t get anywhere close to what they want out of deficit reduction talks and some have already signaled they won’t be voting for it.

“This deal trades peoples’ livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals,” Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ) said in an fiery statement, “and I will not support it.”

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