Petition From CREDO Action Tell Democrats to Not Cave to Republicans
Tell Democratic Leadership: Don’t cave to Republican extremists on the budget.
It’s breathtaking to think that the Republicans would risk a government shutdown because Democrats won’t unilaterally capitulate to their demands for concessions in some of the most intractable ideological wars of our time.
But last week the House passed and sent to the Senate for consideration an extremist’s wish list under the guise of the “Continuing Resolution.” The Continuing Resolution (CR) is a must-pass bill that is necessary to maintain funding for the federal government while Congress debates the 2011 budget.
Democrats must stand their ground. But progressive champions in the Senate won’t be able to fight if their leadership preemptively cuts a deal with Republicans.
Unfortunately, such a deal may already be underway. The Huffington Post has reported that Democratic leadership and key Appropriations Committee staffers met Thursday to identify cuts in social spending drastic enough to appease Republican demands for devastating spending reductions.1
If a CR isn’t passed by March 4, the government will shut down. Yet the Republicans have shown no willingness to compromise on any of their extreme demands including devastating cuts to Planned Parenthood, NPR, and the EPA.
Democrats now have two choices: Stand their ground or cave to this extremism to avoid the government shutdown that Republicans are forcing.
Tell Democratic Leadership: Stand your ground against Republican extremism. Don’t cave to Republican extremists and cut a backroom deal on the budget.
It’s not surprising that Democrats may already be caving without a fight. But it’s totally unacceptable.
If Democrats continue to cave to Republican extremists, it will only embolden the rightwing to launch even more radical attacks against progressives, because Republicans have learned, when they don’t compromise, they win.
We’ve seen it in Wisconsin where the Republican governor turned a budget surplus into a deficit with giveaways to corporations and millionaires, and then used the completely predictable budget deficit that resulted to bludgeon the public employee unions and diminish the power of the progressive base in his state. And when Unions offered to take benefit cuts, Walker said no, because his attack isn’t really about balancing budgets, it’s about breaking the public employee unions.
And now we’re hurtling towards total disaster in Washington D.C. because Republicans are practicing the same tactics, holding the needs of everyday Americans hostage with their threats of forcing a government shutdown. Intoxicated with power and propelled by a Tea Party base, they are willing let the American people twist in the wind if Senate Democrats don’t agree to their increasingly extreme wish list of demands.
It’s the logical result of a history of caving by Democrats. Time and time again, Republicans have practiced brinkmanship and the Democrats have been the first ones to blink — preemptively caving on a range of issues from climate to the public option to Bush tax cuts for millionaires. Not surprisingly, that behavior has only emboldened the Republicans to raise the stakes even more.
As you may have noticed, things aren’t working out quite as Governor Walker planned in Wisconsin. And now the politicians in Washington DC should take a page from Wisconsin’s playbook. Tens of thousands of protesters have rallied behind nurses, teachers and other public employees. And the politicians are following the people’s lead with 14 Democrats in the state senate fleeing the state to deny the governor the quorum he needs to pass his radical agenda.
This is the kind of leadership we need in the U.S. Senate. But according to the Huffington Post, Democratic leadership is already busy caving to Republicans behind closed doors.
The Continuing Resolution passed by the House is not a serious attempt to address our budget. Republicans have hijacked a bill to fund the operation of government and attached their extremist wish list of cuts meant to serve their personal ideology, not address the real needs of the American people. For example, the Republicans sought to defund Planned Parenthood by denying Title X funding that currently enables millions of women to obtain birth control, cancer screenings, HIV tests, and other lifesaving care.
And that is just one of any number of deeply unpopular items that the Republicans could never force through the Senate or overcome a presidential veto of without being attached to “must pass” legislation like the Continuing Resolution.
This is not the end game, it’s just the beginning. The Republicans will have multiple opportunities to hold the budget hostage to their extremist demands. After the Continuing Resolution comes the fight over the debt ceiling and then 2011 budget process starts. Republicans are refusing to negotiate in good faith because they are confident that their utter intransigence will pay off — as it has in practically every single significant fight during the Obama administration. If we don’t draw the line now, Republican demands will only become more radical in these successive fights.
We can’t continue to let the Republicans hold the needs of the American people hostage to their increasingly extreme rightwing wishlist. Wisconsin has shown us what can happen when Democrats fight back. Join us in putting Democratic leadership in the Senate — Sens. Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer and Dick Durbin — and President Obama on notice: Don’t sell us out before we have get the chance to fight.
Tell Sens. Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durban and Pres. Obama: It’s time to stop preemptively caving without a fight. Don’t cut a backroom deal with Republican extremists who are threatening to shut down the government.
1. “Senate Democrats Meet To Find More Cuts For Long-Term Funding Deal With GOP,” The Huffington Post, February 24th, 2011
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“Don’t cave and cut a backroom deal with Republican extremists on the budget.”
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