Lawmaker says Dems worried Obama will cave to GOP on cuts

Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) this week said he and many other Democrats are worried that President Obama will give in to Republican demands for big spending cuts as part of a deal on the debt ceiling.

In comments posted by KBND radio in Bend, Oregon, DeFazio all but said that he expects Obama to strike a deal that goes too far in the direction of Republican demands, based on the results of Obama's past negotiations on the Bush tax cuts.

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"It's pretty typical of his negotiating," DeFazio said of Obama. "The results of his past negotiations, like extending all the Bush tax cuts, have been disastrous. So many of us are concerned."

DeFazio, who has served in the House since 1987 and describes himself as a “progressive populist,” has been one of the most vocal liberal critics of the Obama administration.

In November 2009, he called for the resignations of Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and then-White House chief economist Larry Summers, faulting them fo not geting tough with Wall Street. DeFazio was one of only two Democrats to vote against the $700 billion financial bailout of 2008 under President Bush. He also opposed the Obama administration's $787 billion stimulus program, because only seven percent ws devoted to infrastructure spending.

Obama himself has taken notice. 

“Don’t think we’re not keeping score, brother,” Obama told DeFazio during a closed-door meeting of the House Democratic Caucus in 2009, according to members afterward.

Obama's comments from earlier this week about the need to get a deal done have prompted the Senate to cancel its recess next week. But as of Thursday, there were no clear signs that any agreement was near.

Senate Republicans spent part of Thursday arguing for a balanced-budget amendment and reduced spending. In contrast, Senate Democrats continued to argue in favor of reducing the deficit by raising taxes on corporations, something DeFazio said he supports.

Updated at 2 p.m.