U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen, Democratic congressman representing the district that includes Whatcom County, has issued a press release saying he voted for the debt ceiling compromise because it averts a federal debt default and mostly protects Medicare and Medicaid.
“Now we need to start creating jobs,” Larsen said. “We must protect investments like college loans, research and development and other efforts that will help America maintain a cutting edge economy. These investments will help America stay ahead of the competition and set the foundation for future economic growth.”
He also observes that the federal government will eventually need to raise more revenue if national leaders are serious about balancing the budget.
Here is the full text from Larsen:
“Today I voted to avert a default crisis. The impact of default on the low-income, middle class, and seniors would have been far worse than any of the cuts that are found in this bill.
“The people I represent asked me to protect Social Security and assistance programs for the poor, and this bill does that. This package totally protects Social Security, Medicaid, veterans’ benefits, food stamps and other critical programs from the draconian cuts some members of Congress wanted to see.
“The package largely takes changes to Medicare off the table. It protects Medicare from becoming a voucher system – a serious threat that would have ended the guaranteed benefit and program as we know it. But providers could take an overall two percent cut in reimbursement.
“Compromise is never perfect.
“I am disappointed that revenue is not a part of the final package. A truly balanced approach to balancing the budget over the next ten years requires revenue.
“On the other hand, the package does not exclude revenue in the future, and the President still retains veto authority over extension of the Bush-era tax cut for the top income earners.
“This bill forms a bi-partisan congressional committee to identify a minimum of $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years. The committee must provide recommendations to both chambers of Congress for a clean, up-or-down vote.
“If the committee fails in its task, a trigger that is more like a hammer, will result in $1.2 trillion in across the board cuts. Half of these cuts will come from domestic programs and half from defense and security spending. That is a clear incentive for the committee to reach a compromise.
“Now we need to start creating jobs. We must protect investments like college loans, research and development and other efforts that will help America maintain a cutting edge economy. These investments will help America stay ahead of the competition and set the foundation for future economic growth.”
End press release