Kirk, Schakowsky, Dold Talk Debt Ceiling Compromise
Dold, Kirk support legislation; Schakowsky opposes it.
Local members of Congress responded to calls from citizens to compromise Sunday night by offering support for a bipartisan effort to prevent the nation from defaulting on its financial obligations.
Leaders of the Senate and House of Representatives worked with President Barack Obama to craft a deal to increase the debt ceiling to allow the country to pay its bills. The legislation also cut spending approximately $2.4 trillion over the next 10 years.
The spending reductions come in two groups. Initially, the lawmakers agreed $900 billion would be cut over 10 years. A bipartisan commission would be created to recommend slashing an additional $1.5 trillion by late November. If no agreement is reached, there will be automatic triggers that still must be negotiated.
Read More on Patch: Citizens Agree Congress Should Compromise to Avoid Default.
“The best way to achieve economic stability, reassure our allies and strengthen financial markets is by tackling our unsustainable spending trend,” Kirk said. “This deal is a balance of immediate cuts and a promise of long-term reforms, coupled with a strong backstop.”
Schakowsky was unwilling to support legislation she felt left America’s most vulnerable citizens potentially unprotected because members of the Republican Party were willing to sacrifice the economy in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling.
“This legislation once again forces the middle class, the poor and the seniors to be the ones to hold the reins of debt reduction,” Schakowsky said. “The Republicans have held us hostage to the debt ceiling and they succeeded in collecting their ransom.”
Had the bill failed, Schakowsky would have encouraged the President use the 14th Amendment of the Constitution to unilaterally extend the debt ceiling.
“He would have done that because it was suggested by Vice President (Joseph) Biden he would when he came to our caucus,” Schakowsky said.
Dold spent the weekend in and out of meetings with the Republican House Caucus learning about progress on debt ceiling negotiations between Congressional leadership and the President.
“I am optimistic that Washington is finally coming together and finding common ground on the debt ceiling debate,” Dold said on the House floor. “We must move forward. Hardworking taxpayers have had enough and I get it.”
Dold has also has been inundated with communication from his constituents on the issue, according to Communications Director Stefani Zimmerman.
“Over the past couple of weeks, both of Rep. Dold’s offices have received an overwhelming response from his constituents to work towards a bipartisan solution and he is listening to them,” Zimmerman said.
One of two Democrats seeking Dold’s 10th District seat in the 2012 general election, Deerfield management consultant Brad Schneider, was relieved an agreement was reached. He felt, however, that the tenor of the debate prevented the country from getting the kind of law he would have preferred.
“The freshmen created a circumstance that did not allow the government to get the deal that needed to get done,” Schneider said. “I am happy that Congress found a way to avoid default. We need to address our fiscal challenges in a more strategic, more comprehensive way.
Schneider’s opponent in the March Democratic primary, Waukegan community organizer Ilya Sheyman, does not like the deal. He would also prefer the 14th Amendment option.
“It would be irresponsible to support legislation that reduces the deficit on the backs of struggling working families and the most vulnerable” Sheyman said. "By putting at risk Medicare and other core services, this plan will make conditions worse at a time of tremendous economic strain."