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Congress Chooses Austerity Over Job Creation and Economic Growth

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Source: The Nation


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Most members of Congress were pleased with themselves Thursday.

They agreed to agree -- crossing lines of partisanship and ideology -- on an austerity budget that, as Oregon Congressman Peter DeFazio has noted, "won't create jobs, get the economy back on track, or meaningfully cut the deficit."

That's not the worst of it.

"At the end of the day, the bill abandons 1.3 million Americans who desperately need unemployment insurance, and does nothing to promote economic growth or job creation," Congressman Mark Pocan, D-Wisconsin, explained Thursday. "Furthermore, the legislation is paid for on the backs of the middle class and military families, while not touching the wealthiest amongst us and allowing corporations to continue to benefit from tax loopholes."

Pocan and DeFazio could not bring themselves to back the deal.

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But they were outliers, two of the 32 Democrats who voted no, along with 62 Republicans.

The vast majority of House members -- from both parties -- backed the deal, which prevailed on a 332-94 vote.

So where does that leave America?

Let's turn to National Nurses United, a union that parts company with both major parties on questions of public welfare, for a diagnosis.

"There is no reason to cheer an agreement that requires unwarranted pension cuts for federal workers, including VA nurses who earned that pension, underfunds nutrition programs and fails to extend assistance for the long-term unemployed," says union co-president Jean Ross, RN.

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John Nichols, a pioneering political blogger, has written the Online Beat since 1999. His posts have been circulated internationally, quoted in numerous books and mentioned in debates on the floor of Congress.

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