WASHINGTON, DC – Mary Kay Henry, President of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed the Budget Control Act of 2011:
“The expected debt ceiling agreement is a raw deal for working people and the 30 million Americans who are still looking for work. This morally wrong legislation does nothing to help working families and does not end the threat to the millions of children and seniors who rely on Medicaid and Medicare for their healthcare or the workers who care for them.
“The immediate spending caps, along with the process laid out in the legislation, will lead to massive discretionary spending cuts that would potentially gut vital programs and inflict further damage to our nation’s most vulnerable.
“With Speaker Boehner, Minority Leader McConnell and Representative Cantor at the helm, Congressional Republicans degraded our national discourse by fighting tooth and nail to protect tax giveaways to corporations and millionaires by taking any type of truly shared sacrifice off the table.
“Though they may have talked the talk, not once did Congressional Republicans walk the walk of real compromise or seriously entertain the need for a balanced approach with cuts and revenue.
“Sadly, while the debate raged on in Washington, Americans from Los Angeles to Pittsburgh remain in the brutal grip of the greatest economic crisis in a generation. Nothing in this legislation will lighten the burden of working people who are struggling to put food on the table, to fill up their gas tanks, or to keep their homes. And nothing in this bill will create the good jobs we need.
“As lawmakers move beyond this myopic solution to the debt ceiling, we call on President Barack Obama and Congressional leaders to refocus on the priorities of working people and on a better vision of America, where we can work for a living, support our families, and retire with dignity. Simply put, working people need leaders to lead.
“The drawn out debt ceiling debate has galvanized working people to come together en masse to redirect the discussion from catering to CEOs in board rooms, to relieving the pain of families at their kitchen tables across the country. The American people have lost faith that elected leaders alone will make this happen.”