Watching the recent events in
In both cases, there were undeniable problems – largely unsustainable spending habits –that required both parties to compromise without abandoning their principles to find solutions that will benefit the public.
I was proud when Governor Christie stood with legislative leaders of both parties and signed our reform bill because it preserved pensions and healthcare for public workers while making them affordable for the rest of us.
I wish the example we set were followed more closely by members of Congress when they finally agreed on a bipartisan debt limit law because, bipartisan accords are always better than partisan gridlock.
It was a classic give-and-take in which both parties made concessions without abandoning their core beliefs. The deal allows the country to borrow more with assurances that the increased debt will be mitigated with mandated spending cuts, not tax increases.
The pact also protects some of our nation’s most important programs from those cuts – Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security benefits, and the military.
The deal makes it clear that further reform is needed through a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution and reforms to stop abuses in Social Security and federal health care programs.
If nothing else, this agreement means that Congress can no longer consider raising the debt ceiling a fait accompli. Like
In our state, the new law may have concrete impacts, such as preserving more than $260 million worth of Homeland Security funding to help thwart terrorists to keep us safe and a $450 million upgrade to Amtrak’s rails that will keep us moving.
As with any bipartisan compromise, there are points we can disagree with and I’m sure new concerns will arise as we fully digest the new law, but on a whole this is what needed to be done to move our country forward and avert a catastrophic default.
This compromise was necessary and the politicians who attempted to block it were avoiding the job that they were sent to
Reps. Frank Pallone and Rush Holt, and Sens. Frank Lautenberg and Bob Menendez couldn’t put aside their political ideologue even in the face of a colossal problem that doesn’t see a difference between blue and red, discern the smell of an elephant from a donkey, or know its left from its right.
Their vote indicated they don’t care whether our country pays its bills or descends into economic chaos. Their “principled” stand jeopardized the vital social security and health safety nets that so many people in
Their political entrenchment hinders progress and benefits no one.
This accord solved an immediate problem but a tougher obstacle remains to find a long-term solution to our nation’s deficit. I’d feel much more confident about our chances in overcoming it if Congress acted more like the model we established this spring and less like Reps. Pallone, Holt and Sens. Lautenberg and Menendez.
Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini
11th Legislative District