CBC Statement of Principles on the “Fiscal Cliff”

FOR IMMEDATE RELASE                                                        Updated: December 19, 2012
Contact: Ayofemi Kirby

Congressional Black Caucus  Statement of Principles on the “Fiscal Cliff”

As we approach the deadline to address key issues affecting our economy, the American people demand we take decisive action to avoid the so called “fiscal cliff.”  Strengthening our economy and getting our nation back on track will require tough choices, but one thing is clear–the path to fiscal sustainability must not be made on the backs of our nation’s most vulnerable communities.

As President Obama and Congressional leaders continue to negotiate ways to avoid the “fiscal cliff,” the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) will adhere to the following principles in considering its support of any agreement:

  • $1.5 trillion in cuts were previously agreed upon through the spending caps in the Budget Control Act of 2011 and should be considered in any agreement.
  • Allowing the Bush-era tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest Americans must be a part of any agreement and our overall path to fiscal solvency.
  • Social Security does not contribute to our deficit and should be completely off the negotiating table. Additionally, the CBC will oppose any plan that raises the eligibility for Medicare or cuts benefits to Medicaid beneficiaries.  
  • The CBC supports extending the middle-class Bush-era tax cuts, but we must be sure that tax cuts will not be paid for by later cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid benefits. 
  • The CBC supports a return to the Clinton Administration era marginal tax rate of 39.6%. 
  • The Affordable Care Act should be fully implemented. The program does not add to the debt and must be protected from further cuts. Millions of Americans are already benefiting from health care reform and millions of Americans stand to gain access to affordable health insurance in 2014.
  • Emergency unemployment insurance must be extended. Every dollar spent on unemployment insurance generates $1.55 in economic activity. Two million workers are in danger of losing their emergency unemployment compensation if no action is taken by the end of the year.  It is also critical that we protect the other tax credits that assist working families.
  • The CBC recognizes that we have saved tens of billions of dollars from reducing waste, fraud, and abuse in the Department of Defense, and there remains potential for additional and significant cost savings with further improvements to oversight and management.
  • We must not ignore the ongoing jobs crisis.  As we reduce deficits and debt, we must be sure to avoid premature austerity that could stall the recovery and must consider extending current and enacting new policies that create jobs and grow the economy including aid to state governments, investments in transportation infrastructure and investing in education.

Earlier this year, the Congressional Black Caucus offered an effective, alternative budget that addresses the sequester and fully pays for an extension of the Bush-era middle-class tax cuts, without cutting Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the social safety net, while also ensuring that we invest in our children, our communities, and our economy.


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