WASHINGTON — The Congressional Progressive Caucus and its co-chair, Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, have come out against the debt ceiling deal hatched by President Barack Obama and congressional leadership.
Ellison, reading a statement from the caucus, said tea party-aligned members of the Republican Party have “held our economy hostage” by demanding large cuts and opposing tax increases in exchange for raising the debt limit.
“This is the wrong approach for our economy at the wrong time, and it goes against our basic values,” he said. “For that reason, we and many of our members will be voting no.”
Ellison spoke with six members of the caucus by his side. He said caucus leadership had not counted exactly how many of its more than 70 members would be voting against the legislation.
Caucus members urged Obama to invoke the 14th Amendment should the debt deal not pass. That route, by which the president would unilaterally instruct the Treasury to continue to borrow money to pay the country’s debts, has been opposed by the White House.
“President Obama has been given a hand to fight from,” Ellison said. “He was the president at the time when these people made these unreasonable demands to undermine and hurt these basic social services … If we have any dispute, its tactical.”
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