Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) on Friday called on the GOP to stop waging a “war on the working people of America” as fiscal cliff fighting intensifies.
“First of all I’d like our Republican friends to stop a war on the working people of America,” she said on CNN’s “Early Start.” “That is what the ultimate non-action [on the fiscal cliff] will impact. Those are the people who will be impacted.”
Jackson Lee, a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said the Democrats are open to negotiating, but that many safety net programs are sacred.
She argued that entitlement reform can wait until 2013.
“[The] president is not in any way suggesting that he’s not willing to negotiate,” she said. “He asked the question, ‘When are the Republicans going to be considerate of those who get up every day and work? Or those who need Medicare or Social Security and Medicaid?’ That is what the bottom line is for the president and for Democrats, to protect benefits in a reasonable manner, and to ensure that we have the revenue to bring down the deficit and continue to operate in the needs of the American people.”
Jackson Lee slammed Republicans for their focus on deficit reduction.
“If my Republican friends would think about the working people of America, stop the war on working people of America, and not adhere to the fact that in a recession you must constantly focus on the deficit,” she said. “Most economists say focus on growth. But I am looking forward to reasonable men and women coming together as patriots, and ensuring that we will address this question for the American people.”
Jackson Lee has served Texas’ 18th Congressional District that includes most of inner-city Houston since 1995.
The so-called “fiscal cliff” refers to the dire, across-the-board cuts and tax hikes for all Americans that are set to go into effect unless the White House and the House of Representatives come up with a compromise.
A number of economists say the measures will likely push the country into a recession.
President Barack Obama has proposed higher tax rates on the wealthy as part of any compromise, but Republican lawmakers have remained adamant that they will reject any tax increases.