Congress has reached an apparent compromise on a measure that will raise the federal debt ceiling, likely averting a fiscal crisis that had been feared if the U.S. government would have risked defaulting on its loan obligations.
The reactions of the three top candidates for the U.S. Senate seat representing Virginia up for grabs in the 2012 elections are telling as to how deep the divide is among the two leading political parties.
“While far from perfect, the current approach before Congress maintains economic stability by raising the debt ceiling and enacts important spending cuts that will help preserve our nation’s and Virginia’s credit rating. This is the beginning of a much longer process as we work to rebuild our economy,” Democrat Tim Kaine said.
“After months of pushing our economy to the brink, Washington has yet again failed to deliver a long-term solution to our debt crisis,” said Republican frontrunner George Allen. “This 11th hour deal fails to address the country’s serious fiscal problems, has no concrete Balanced Budget Amendment, and punts the tough decisions to yet another commission while adding nearly a trillion dollars more to our nation’s debt as they deliberate. ”
“I am both angered and dismayed by the total lack of leadership and courage this deal represents. Last week I warned that our biggest mistake would be falling for what I called the Debt Deal Sugar Rush. As I feared, our leaders could not resist, and they struck a deal that provides a temporary and deceptive feeling of relief,” said Tea Party leader Jamie Radtke, a candidate for the Republican nomination.
Radtke pushed a Tea Party talking point – the idea that a balanced budget amendment is needed to “put America back on strong financial footing.” “You can’t vote for a solution that doesn’t solve the problem, especially when it will result in making things worse for Americans,” Radtke said.
Allen, playing to the right flank, also talked up a balanced budget amendment, as he also worked in GOP boilerplate about “job-killing tax increases” that he says are on the horizon.
“Senate Democrats will use this new commission to continue their push for job-killing tax increases as the answer to our country’s problems. And if they fail to reach an agreement, significant cuts will be made to defense spending, risking our troop’s safety and seriously threatening Virginia jobs. Meanwhile, American job opportunities are diminishing, our economy is on a downward spiral, and Americans are paying high fuel prices that are hurting already strained family budgets,” Allen said.
Kaine, parroting President Barack Obama, is the one of the three using the word “bipartisan” without meaning to imply anything in the area of epithet.
“By establishing a joint committee with representation from both parties that is empowered to make additional cuts as well as raise new revenue, Congress has said that they also want a bipartisan and balanced result. And, I sincerely hope that negotiating without the specter of default or economic collapse will result in less partisan maneuvering and grandstanding and more pragmatic solutions,” Kaine said.
“I’m disappointed that my Republican opponents joined the Tea Party in choosing default over bipartisan compromise. As the next U.S. Senator from Virginia, my commitment will be to always put the best interest of the Commonwealth and the nation over politics, as many Members of Congress have done by standing behind this flawed but necessary agreement,” Kaine said.