Washington, DC – The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) lamented the status of the debt ceiling votes in Congress, making clear that negotiating the fate of social programs, benefits for low-income families, veterans’ affairs, and other government services under the threat of a catastrophic default and ensuing economic chaos is no way to manage the country’s fiscal affairs.
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“It’s a shame we’re even in this situation to begin with. Members of Congress should never threaten the full faith and credit of the United States and its ability to pay its bills to extract harmful cuts to programs serving people most in need. This is indefensible, and our congressional leaders and the president need to ensure that this never happens again,” said Amelia Kegan, FCNL’s associate general secretary for policy and advocacy.
“Nothing could be worse than defaulting on our debt. However, this deal is nothing to celebrate. In fact, for countless American families, life just got expediently more difficult while for the incredibly wealthy and massive corporations, nothing has changed at all.
“Harmful cuts and spending freezes will be coming to education, childcare, job training, transportation, nutrition assistance, housing assistance, community violence intervention programs, international peacebuilding, and environmental protection. The list goes on and on. But notably, and as usual, the Pentagon will face no cuts — even to programs that are outdated and unwanted. Wealthy individuals and corporations are not asked to pay one penny more in taxes.
“If this were only about deficits, we’d be looking at cutting all areas of the budget, including the Pentagon’s, and we’d be closing tax loopholes. But this is not about keeping our fiscal house in order. This is holding the economy hostage to enact harmful policies that couldn’t pass through the regular legislative process. This is not how a functioning democracy should work,” said Kegan.
FCNL advocates rallied to prevent some of the most harmful cuts to safety net programs passed by the House last April in the Limit, Save, Grow Act. Advocates called, emailed, and met their members of Congress. FCNL’s Advocacy Teams members mobilized drop-by visits to Congressional offices on Capitol Hill, wrote to their local papers, and coordinated a sign-on letter with organizations in their communities to demonstrate grassroots-level concern.
To learn more, please visit www.fcnl.org.