Speed reading what local Congressional reps said about the debt ceiling deal

schumer gillibrand gibson tonko

Yes, No, Yes, No

The federal debt-ceiling drama ended today after the Senate passed the bill raising the ceiling, and Barack Obama signed it late this afternoon. [NYT] [NYT]

No one seems happy about the deal -- a fact reflected in the votes and comments from local Congressional reps, who split on how they voted...

Chris Gibson - voted yes

"It falls short of what we need, but given the exigency of the moment and the fact that it is within my principles and moving in the right direction, I will support this bill." [Post-Star]

"I had to make a judgment. This adheres to cut, cap and balance principles, but I still think it falls short of what we need." [TU CapCon]

"What I see coming out of this bill is a consensus that we have a spending problem." [Saratogian]

Paul Tonko - voted no

"If we make room for millionaires, billionaires and oil companies at the table, the middle class ought to have a spot there, too. And it's apparent they don't with this measure." [TU]

"It asks for sacrifice from the middle class, while protecting tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, subsidies for big oil, and corporate tax loopholes. It threatens to weaken Medicare and Social Security benefits. And it calls for cuts in domestic spending that will send more people to the unemployment line and weaken the economy." [Tonko statement]

Chuck Schumer - voted yes

"With this debt-reduction package complete, the decks are now clear for a single-minded focus on jobs in September. By removing the threat of default for the next 18 months, and by proving both parties can come together to get our deficits under control, we have provided certainty to the credit markets. The debt-limit agreement largely resolves the budgets for the next two years, so the wrangling over spending should be greatly reduced in the coming months. We now have the chance to pivot away from budget battles to jobs." [Schumer press conference statement/CBS]

Kirsten Gillibrand - voted no

"I strongly believe America must reduce its debt and rein in federal spending. Earlier this week, I supported over $2 trillion in spending cuts without additional revenues, and last December I voted to roll back the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans that are blowing a hole in the deficit. However, I do not believe this proposal is a fair, well thought out, or balanced deal for our fragile economy or the millions of middle class families struggling to make ends meet." [Gillibrand statement]

"This deal, cut behind closed doors with zero transparency, is an unbalanced approach that cuts deeply into discretionary spending while being overwhelmingly stacked in favor of large corporations who exploit loopholes and the wealthiest among us. It is simply not in the best interests of the middle class and the larger economic recovery." [The Hill]


In the past few days, the intransigent fiscal conservatives have only succeeded in ensuring a stagnant U.S. economy for years to come.

We've cut and cut income taxes over the past thirty years. And we've pumped more and more into defense spending with dubious, and some ethically-indefensible, results. Now the proverbial chickens have come home to roost.

The issue is not the deficit in the short-term. In fact, government spending in the short-term is the only tactic available at this point to combat unemployment and to spur economic growth. Tax cuts aren't working on that front. And consumer spending, which is over two-thirds of the economy, isn't going up anytime soon.

No, the issue is deficits over the long-term. And revenue increases, along with spending cuts, must be part of the solution. Spending cuts alone are simply insufficient.

Tonko knows a thing or two about debt, his net worth is -$26,000 and he lives with his mother.

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