Last night, the House approved President Obama’s fiscal deal, which would extend tax breaks for individuals earning up to $30,000 a month and enact a weak estate tax without resolving the debt ceiling or sequestration issues.
One of the lone progressive Democrats who opposed the deal was Rep. Jim Moran (D-VA). He gave an impassioned speech about how the deal is setting up three additional hostage situations because it does not resolve the debt ceiling, the expiration of the continuing budget resolution, or the sequestration. “We will look back on this night and regret it,” he thundered:
MORAN:Ai??Many of us feel, certainly on this side, that the deficit does not matter, but it does matter because we have another deficit — a deficit in the investment and education of our children, a deficit in the training and skills of our work force, and the physical infrastructure of our country. We will have none of those resources to make that investment after we make this vote tonight. And the problem is, we have set up three more fiscal cliffs. We ‘re gonna have to deal with the debt ceiling, We’re gonna have to deal with the continuing resolution expiration, and we’re gonna have to deal with the sequester. And all that’s left is spending cuts. And all that’s left to ask ourselves is, what programs do we cut and how deep do we cut them? We have to look back on this night and regret it, notwithstanding the fact that 95% of us will vote for it.
Moran’s speech perfectly captures Republicans’ strategy. Earlier this week, Rep. Tom Cole (R-OK), the House Republicans’ Deputy Whip, appeared on MSNBC and listed the sequestration, debt ceiling, and continuing resolution as additional opportunities for extortion. He specifically named the “entitlement issue” as something Republicans wanted to tackle — meaning cutting Medicare and Social Security benefits.