In a scathing critique of the recent debt ceiling deal struck between President Joe Biden and Republicans, Marianne Williamson, a rival for the 2024 Democratic presidential nomination, accused the president of making a deal that rolls back IRS enforcement against wealthy tax cheats and forces poor people into low-wage jobs in exchange for food stamps.
Williamson’s remarks were part of a wave of criticism from both Democrats and Republicans who are dissatisfied with the agreement.
“The Republicans holding the entire world economy hostage unless they get what they want has been an outrageous display of extremist politics,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, echoing the sentiment of many progressive Democrats.
Williamson, whose campaign revives the progressive views of President Franklin Roosevelt, condemned the deal as “a negotiation with economic terrorists” that protects the wealthy while inflicting harm on the most vulnerable.
She argued that if the Republican Party and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy had truly been concerned about fiscal responsibility, they would have been open to cutting the military budget and investing in IRS agents to catch wealthy tax evaders.
“The debt ceiling deal was a negotiation with economic terrorists. It protects those who do not need protection – who if anything should be held more accountable – and it inflicts harm on people who are most vulnerable,” said Williamson.
“Situations like this just keep moving the Overton window further and further away from a ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people,'” said Williamson, expressing her concern about the growing inequality and the erosion of support for the less fortunate.
Williamson said this was nothing more than an exercise in power and Biden rolled over for Republicans, whose stated aims were disingenuous.
“Also, it had nothing to do with fiscal responsibility. If McCarthy had really been about fiscal responsibility, he would’ve been open to cutting the military budget as well as letting Biden spend money on IRS agents who would’ve caught wealthy tax cheaters,” said Williamson.
The deal, which raises the nation’s debt limit until 2025, includes policy reforms and spending clawbacks that have garnered criticism from both sides of the aisle.
Some conservatives, like Representative Chip Roy, have referred to the agreement as a “turd-sandwich” and vowed to oppose it.
Progressive Democrats, including Representative Pramila Jayapal, chairwoman of the House Progressive Caucus, expressed reservations about the imposition of stricter work requirements on government assistance programs, calling it “very bad policy.”
Jayapal argued that the United States is one of the few industrialized countries that impose such requirements on those seeking food assistance.
“The debt ceiling deal was a complete disaster and it’s frustrating to see how it protects those who don’t need protection,” said New Jersey progressive Lisa McCormick. “It’s time for the government to start prioritizing the needs of the people, especially the most vulnerable.”
Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, however, urged his colleagues not to delay the consideration of the debt-limit deal.
He commended McCarthy for securing significant concessions from Biden, such as a cut in non-defense discretionary spending, reduced funding for the Internal Revenue Service, and work requirements for food assistance programs.
Despite McConnell’s call for swift action, some lawmakers voiced their concerns. Republican Senator Rand Paul criticized the deal, claiming it had “fake spending cuts,” while Representative Ken Buck expressed his disappointment with what he called a “debt ceiling surrender.”
Biden defended his surrender to the GOP, characterizing it as an important step forward that reduces spending while protecting critical programs for working people and stimulating economic growth.
He acknowledged that not everyone would be satisfied with the compromise, but claimed that it was the best possible outcome in a divided government despite his initial insistence that Congress pass a ‘clean’ debt limit bill.
As details for the scheme are expected to be released soon, its fate in Congress remains uncertain.
Lawmakers from both sides of the political spectrum are likely to weigh in on the legislation, and moderate Democrats and Republicans will play a crucial role in determining its passage.
With progressive Democrats expressing skepticism and conservative Republicans mobilizing against the bill, the debate surrounding the debt ceiling deal continues to intensify. The coming days will shed light on whether the agreement can gather enough support to pass both chambers of Congress and receive President Biden’s signature.