Liberal Dem lawmaker vows to reject GOP, White House debt deal

One of the most liberal members of Congress vowed Sunday to reject an emerging debt-ceiling compromise among lawmakers and the White House, calling it a “cure as bad as the disease.”

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said in a statement that progressive lawmakers and working families “were thrown under the bus” by a deal that “trades peoples' livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals.” The result, he said, is as bad for the Democratic Party as it is for the country.

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“We have given much and received nothing in return,” Grijalva said. “The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want. While I believe the country will not reward them for this in the long run, the damage has already been done.”

The proposal would cut spending by $1 trillion immediately and seek about $2 trillion more in deficit reduction later this year. Grijalva excoriated the White House for abandoning too much ground to the GOP, notably by excluding revenue raisers from the first phase of deficit reduction.

“We have made our bottom line clear for months: a final deal must strike a balance between cuts and revenue, and must not put all the burden on the working people of this country,” he said. “This deal fails those tests and many more.”

President Obama should have demanded a clean debt-ceiling vote all along, Grijalva added.

“Had that vote failed,” he said, “the president should have exercised his Fourteenth Amendment responsibilities and ended this manufactured crisis.”

“The only thing left to do now,” he said, “is repair the damage as soon as possible.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) endorsed the deal worked out by the White House and Republicans after Grijalva's comments. 

A liberal Democratic senator also lambasted the deal. Rep. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said it was both bad economics and immoral in a blistering statement.

"The Republicans have been absolutely determined to make certain that the rich and large corporations not contribute one penny for deficit reduction, and that all of the sacrifice comes from the middle class and working families," said Sanders, who mentioned cuts in Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and other programs. 

"I cannot support legislation like the Reid proposal which balances the budget on the backs of struggling Americans while not requiring one penny of sacrifice from the wealthiest people in our country. That is not only grotesquely immoral, it is bad economic policy," Sanders said.

This story was updated at 5:39 p.m.