Members of Congress called the debt deal everything from a “ a sugar-coated satan sandwich” (Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-MO) to “the latest blackmail request from extortionist Republicans ” (Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-Red Hook), but Brooklynites appeared to be a little more forgiving.
“I think everyone needs to recognize that we needed some kind of deal, which was a step in the right direction,” said Peter Foges, 66, of Park Slope, shortly after President Barack Obama signed the deal into existence.
“It’s hard to be too hard on him,” added Slope resident Beth Dreher, 32. “ To me, the republicans say ‘no’ to whatever the democrats say. It seems like he had to do what he did.”
The eleventh hour senate vote on the debt deal successfully prevented a default on the nation’s debt, an outcome that would have likely resulted in grim, unprecedented economic catastrophe.
But many political minds have lambasted the deal, which will raise the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and slash trillions of dollars in government spending, saying that that the deal is not a compromise at all.
Democrats have heavily criticized the bill, arguing that it plays more to Republican priorities because it does not raise taxes at the same time that it aggressively reduces budget deficits by at least $2.1 trillion over the next decade.
“I do not believe this proposal is a fair, well thought out, or balanced deal for our fragile economy or the millions of middle class families struggling to make ends meet,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY). “This deal, cut behind closed doors with zero transparency, is an unbalanced approach that cuts deeply into discretionary spending while being overwhelmingly stacked in favor of large corporations who exploit loopholes and the wealthiest among us.”
Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce President Carl Hum said that raising the debt ceiling will have a trickle down affect, potentially causing severe economic consequences for many. Brooklyn small businesses will be negatively affected because interest rates and credit card rates will go up, making it harder for businesses to borrow money and buy inventory to create their products.
"The capitalist system is based upon a system of credit," he said. "And credit will be further tightened."
Raising the debt ceiling is the "lesser of two evils," Hum said, because if the country defaults on its debt, confidence in the country's economy will drop.
"It's the safer thing to do," he said.
The Senate approved the plan in a 74-26 vote and shortly after it was signed by President Obama; the House of Representatives approved it on Monday by a 269-161 vote.
“While it’s a relief that our nation no longer confronts a potentially catastrophic default, the final product leaves much to be desired,” said Assemblymember Hakeem Jeffries. “Moving forward, any effort to get our nation's debt under control much balance spending cuts with revenue enhancement for those who can pay a little more.”
Georgia Kral, Will Yakowicz and McCarton Ackerman contributed to this report.