A Democratic senator who voted against the fiscal cliff deal on New Year’s Eve claims he hasn’t gotten flack from party leaders about his stand against the bill.
Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) was one of eight votes against H.R. 8 in the upper chamber, and one of three Democrats to oppose the deal hammered out in the 11th hour by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.).
“I voted no because it didn’t address the deficit issues. This entire enterprise, from the expiration of the Bush tax cuts to the sequester and everything else that was related to it, was meant to be a mechanism for forcing the parties not just to compromise, but to compromise in a way that actually puts us on a fiscal path that’s sustainable for this country. And I didn’t feel this deal did that,” Bennet said on Capitol Gains on Sunday.
He said he didn’t receive “any” pushback from leaders after the vote in which the deal triumphed handily, and said his constituents expected a bipartisan solution to the fiscal cliff.
“This outcome didn’t satisfy that test. We have to address this debt and this deficit issue. And we have to do it in a way that is — signals to the actors in our economy that we’ve got this taken care of so they can invest with confidence in the United States,” he said.
“Look, I couldn’t believe it when we had the debt ceiling conversation two years ago. I thought there’s no way we’re going to act in a way that’s going to result in a downgrade of this country’s debt. Yet we did,” Bennet added.
“We were downgraded not because of our fiscal situation. We were downgraded because of concern of the political risk that the two parties couldn’t work together to meaningfully reduce our debt and our deficit. There still isn’t evidence that we can do that.”
The senator said the next objective “always has been and needs to be taking $4 trillion out over the next 10 years.”
“That is what will make our debt sustainable. It doesn’t change the equation. It doesn’t mean that we aren’t still leaving our kids with the short end of the stick, but at least it changes the inflection of our debt so that we can catch up to our interest payments, and so we don’t make matters worse by having compounding interest. If that is our objective, there’s not yet enough revenue in this deal and there aren’t enough cuts in this deal in order to be able to get this done,” Bennet said.