President Barack Obama announced Sunday night that congressional leaders have reached an agreement to cut the deficit and avoid default by the Aug. 2 deadline. In his statement, he urged members of Congress to ratify the deal, which will reduce the federal budget deficit by $1 trillion over the next 10 years and develop a bipartisan committee that will make recommendations for further pruning of the budget in which all programs will be placed on the table. “The result would be the lowest level of annual domestic spending since Dwight Eisenhower was President–but at a level that still allows us to make job-creating investments in things like education and research,” the president stated. “We also made sure that these cuts wouldn’t happen so abruptly that they’d be a drag on a fragile economy.”
Making the announcement before the Asian financial markets opened for trading–a barometer for U.S. market activity–Obama told the White House press corps that the agreement, “will allow us to avoid default and end the crisis that Washington imposed on the rest of America. It ensures also that we will not face this same kind of crisis again in six months, or eight months, or 12 months. And it will begin to lift the cloud of debt and the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy.”
He further maintained the deficit reduction “process has been messy and taken too long.” But the debate is not over while the new measure is weighed by the U.S. Senate and divergent clusters within the House, including the conservative Tea Party, progressives and Congressional Black Caucus.
In an interview with MSNBC, CBC Chairman Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Missouri) called the deal “a sugar-coated Satan sandwich” that goes against the principles of this nation to “take care of the poor and aged.”
He says that the plan calls for “trillion of dollars in discretionary cuts without knowing what they are should concern all Americans.” He is also concerned about the “super Congress” that will make decisions about additional cuts before or by November.
Meeting with the CBC today at noon, Cleaver further stated in the interview that the group “does not want to walk the nation into the abyss but we have to protect our constituents.”
Maintaining that Democrats have made a slew of concessions, he said: “If I was a Republican, I would be dancing in streets. The GOP got what they wanted while Democrats got a chance to avert default.”