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Rep. Yvette D. Clarke’s Statement on the House Vote on the Debt-Ceiling Legislation

Today the House of Representatives voted on S. 365 – “Budget Control Act of 2011,” legislation to cut the nations deficit and to raise the debt ceiling.  Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke released the following statement:
“While I have voted to lift the debt-ceiling before, the deficit reduction/ ceiling bill before us is not a balanced approach and is harmful to the well-being of the people I represent.  It provides no sense of shared sacrifices and it does not address revenues, a key component required to achieve economic stability and to reduce our nation’s deficit.  The legislation makes spending cuts which is ultimately at the expense of our working poor and middle class, while asking nothing of the wealthiest Americans,” stated Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.  “To add insult to injury, there is the exemption of the overseas contingency funds that fuel the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan which have been totally exempted from the provisions of this legislation.”
“This deficit reduction plan will dismantle domestic programs that affect vital services for working class Americans, without asking for any sacrifices from wealthy Americans and corporations.  Right now, the American people need our nation to produce jobs,” added Clarke.  “The fact of the matter is that with staggeringly high unemployment, jobs are a much more urgent and pressing matter than this fabricated deficit reduction crisis.  This legislation does nothing to create jobs.  In fact, it will in all likelihood cause the shedding of jobs as government contractors are cut in the public, private and non-profit sectors.”
“While Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid are protected in the initial phase of this deal, there are no guarantees that the special deficit reduction committee will leave these American lifelines, entitlement programs intact in future negotiations,” stated Rep. Yvette D. Clarke.  “There are too many people in my district and New York City that heavily depend on these benefits to survive.  Over 3 million people in New York City are enrolled in Medicaid.”

  • In the 11th Congressional District of New York:
    • Over 30, 000 people receive SSI Benefits;
    • Over 72, 000 residents receive Social Security Old Age, Survivor, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) Benefits;
    • Over 70,000 people are enrolled for Medicare.

“I have always been a strong advocate for bringing a clean debt-ceiling bill to the House floor.  I never bought into the notion of tying the ‘raising of the debt-ceiling’ to a slash and burn deficit reduction plan.  The truth of the matter is the Republican/Tea Party has taken the American economy hostage during a simple procedural vote required to raise our nation’s debt-ceiling, which has been done dozens of times under previous Administrations.  I refuse to play politics with the fragile state of our economy.  I will continue to fight on behalf of those individuals, our children, seniors and the aspiring middle class, who unfortunately will be hurt the most by this high stakes game of political brinksmanship.  I believe we should come to together as Americans and as Members of Congress to bring real solutions to the table that will rescue our economy, and achieve the goal of eliminating our nation’s debt, without the disproportionate harm to our most vulnerable communities,” concluded Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke.