Every member of the CBC voted for the fiscal cliff deal but two: Allen West and Bobby Scott. Yet there’s much talk of “caution” and “reluctance” in a press release from last night. Of course, the only thing that matter is votes.
The fear of many progressives is that making that Bush tax cuts permanent — which adds $3 trillion to the debt — will end up having to be paid for through Social Security.
The Congressional Black Caucus Reluctantly Supports Senate Amendment HR 8
WASHINGTON, DC (link) – CBC Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, II released the following statement today on the CBC’s reluctant support of the Senate Amendment to HR 8:
We, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus, reluctantly and cautiously support the Senate Amendment to HR 8. We are pleased that we were able to reach a compromise for the following:
· Permanent extension of the middle class tax cuts: This provides certainty for 114 million households including lower tax rates, an expanded Child Tax Credit, and marriage penalty relief—steps that prevent the typical family of four from seeing a $2,200 tax increase next year. In addition, it includes a permanent Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) fix.
· Extension of Emergency Unemployment Insurance benefits: The agreement prevents 2 million people from losing UI benefits in January by extending emergency unemployment insurance benefits for one year.
· Extension of tax cuts for 25 million working families and students: The deal extends President Obama’s expansions of the Child Tax Credit, Earned Income Tax Credit, and the new American Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps families pay for college and prevents income taxes from increasing by an average of $1,000 for 25 million working families and students.
However, the Congressional Black Caucus continues to have serious reservations about any attempt to diminish Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Additionally, the CBC is united in our commitment to evaluate the impact of the funding used to pay for the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR or “doc fix”). The CBC specifically opposes cuts to services for diabetes, end stage renal disease, and other illnesses disproportionately impacting our constituencies. These cuts primarily impact medical services in underserved communities.
Although CBC Members voted overwhelmingly in support of this measure, concerns remain regarding the impact of potential cuts on communities of color and other vulnerable populations in the ongoing negotiations on sequestration and the debt ceiling. The 2-month extension does nothing to assuage our concerns about these dangerous and detrimental cuts. The Congressional Black Caucus remains committed to serving as the “Conscience of the Congress” and protecting the most vulnerable Americans.