In announcing that a bipartisan deal had been reached to both raise the debt limit and reduce the national deficit, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) acknowledged that, because the deal was unlikely to please every member of both parties, the deal would desperately need votes on both sides of the aisle. He quoted the late President Lyndon Johnson: “There are no problems we cannot solve together, and very few that we can solve by ourselves.”
What quickly became clear after the deal’s announcement, though, was that perhaps Reid had underestimated Congressional members’ skepticism of the deal, especially in his own party.
“We all may not be able to support it, or none [of] us may be able to support it,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said, according to The Washington Post. Later she added, “I look forward to reviewing the legislation with my caucus to see what level of support we can provide.”
“This deal trades people’s livelihoods for the votes of a few unappeasable right-wing radicals, and I will not support it,” said Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), co-chairman of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, according to POLITICO. “The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican Party, is at a very serious crossroads at this moment. This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country.”
But while many Democrats in Washington have been critical of the debt limit deal, Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.), the chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, has given perhaps the most colorful assessment, calling the deal a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich,” according to an interview on MSNBC’s Roll Call.
“What you see is antithetical to everything the religions of the world teach: take care of the poor, take care of the aged,” Cleaver added. “Look at the phone calls I’ve gotten. They are seven-to-one in favor of a balanced deal, and also preserving Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security. And I’m concerned about this because we don’t know the details. And until we see the details, we are going to be extremely non-committed.”