Fiscal Cliff: Caucus Issues Statement of Principles

Fiscal Cliff: Caucus Issues Statement of Principles

From the CBC: As we approach the end-of-year deadline to address key issues affecting our economy, the American people demand we take decisive action to avoid the so called “fiscal cliff.” Strengthening our economy and getting our nation back on track will require tough choices, but one thing is clear–the path to fiscal sustainability must not be made on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable communities.

As President Obama and Congressional leaders continue to negotiate ways to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will adhere to the principles below in consideration for their support of any agreement.

  • $1.5 trillion in cuts have already been agreed upon through the spending caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011.
  • Bush-era tax cuts must not be extended for the wealthiest, top 2% of Americans must be a part of our overall path to fiscal solvency.
  • The CBC supports extending the middle-class Bush-era tax cuts, but we must be sure that they will not be paid for by later cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid benefits.
  • Social Security does not contribute to our deficit and should be completely off the negotiating table. Additionally, the CBC will oppose any plan that changes the eligibility for Medicare or cuts benefits to Medicaid beneficiaries.
  • The Affordable Care Act (ACA) should be fully implemented. ACA does not add to the debt and must be protected from further cuts. Millions of Americans are already benefiting from health care reform and have the opportunity to gain access to affordable health insurance in 2014.
  • Emergency unemployment insurance must be extended. Every dollar spent on unemployment insurance generates $1.55 in economic activity. Two million workers are in danger of losing their emergency unemployment compensation if no action is taken by the end of the year. It is also critical that we protect the other tax credits that assist working families.
  • We have saved tens of billions of dollars from reducing waste, fraud, and abuse in the Department of Defense, and there remains potential for additional and significant cost savings with further improvements to oversight and management.
  • We must not ignore the ongoing jobs crisis. As we reduce deficits and debt, we must be sure to avoid premature austerity that could stall the recovery and must consider extending current policies and enacting new ones that create jobs and grow the economy.

Earlier this year, the Congressional Black Caucus offered an effective, alternative budget that addresses the sequester and fully pays for an extension of the Bush-era Middle-class Tax Cuts, without cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the social safety net, while also ensuring that we invest in our children, our communities, and our economy.