Colorado Democratic Congressmen Ed Perlmutter and Jared Polis were among only 38 members of the U.S. House of Representatives to vote in favor of a failed bipartisan compromise budget that would have raised taxes and cut spending. That budget bill was based on the Simpson-Bowles plan, which came from a White House Commission charged with creating a plan to reduce the deficit.
Said Perlmutter after the vote, “it is a balanced plan putting both spending cuts and revenue on the table. It makes significant cuts big enough to matter — $4.2 trillion in deficit reduction — reforms the tax code to lower rates, broadens the tax base and reduces the deficit. It is a start to real economic security for our nation.”
Polis was sharply critical of the Ryan Budget, which passed the House on a party-line vote, and said he was proud to support the failed compromise.
“Congress needs to spend less time passing partisan proposals and instead bring Democrats and Republicans together around a responsible ‘go-big’ budget that creates jobs, balances the budget, and invests in long-term economic growth,” Polis said.
USA Today editorialized that the 38 members — 22 Democrats and 16 Republicans — are heroes for bucking party considerations and actually trying to balance the federal budget.
This, or something very much like it, is where every non-partisan budget expert and every realistic politician in Washington knows Congress will have to go to solve the budget problem. Entitlements in their current form are unsustainably expensive, and tax cuts have left revenues at historic lows, inadequate to pay for the government services Americans demand.
The New York Times recounts how both the left and the right swung into action to ensure that the compromise plan would not just go down, but go down hard:
As the House moved toward a vote last week on a bipartisan budget plan modeled on the deficit reduction blueprint of a White House commission, Washington’s conservative and liberal influence machines swung into action.
Within hours, Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform joined Heritage Action for America, the Club for Growth, the Heritage Foundation and assorted conservative bloggers in coming out hard against the plan as an unacceptable tax increase. On the left, the A.F.L.-C.I.O., the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, and research groups like the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities denounced the effort as a sham, disguised as the Bowles-Simpson commission report but tilted to the right.
After that assault, a plan that its sponsors, Representatives Steven C. LaTourette, Republican of Ohio, and Jim Cooper, Democrat of Tennessee, swore would get at least 100 votes across party lines got just 38, and the prospects for compromise on the nation’s yawning deficit took a major step backward.
“I was proud to join a bipartisan coalition of House members who offered a budget based on the work of the Simpson-Bowles Commission,” Polis said in a prepared statement. “The bipartisan budget reforms our bloated tax code to increase competitiveness, reduces defense spending, and achieves $4.2 trillion in deficit reduction.
“In contrast, the Ryan budget ends Medicare as we know it and increases prescription drug costs for seniors, throws 200,000 children out of Head Start, makes college less affordable by slashing Pell grants for 22,000 students in Colorado’s Second District, and undermines efforts to ensure that every child attends an excellent school. We should not be ending guaranteed Medicare coverage for our seniors or gutting education to pay for even larger tax cuts for the most well-off or to increase wasteful defense spending, as the Ryan budget does.
Polis continued, “The continued partisanship of the House majority leadership is paralyzing Congress at a time when we need to work together around common-sense, bipartisan solutions.”