Criticism from the left for 'Gang of Six'
Congressional caucuses discuss debt ceiling and news conference.
July 20th, 2011
08:14 PM ET
12 years ago

Criticism from the left for 'Gang of Six'

Washington (CNN) – A day after the so-called "Gang of Six" released its deficit reduction plan, criticism from the left began to grow.

"We are an anti-gang group," quipped Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, at a news conference on Wednesday. "We are trying to suppress the growth of gangs. We think that it is not healthy for Washington."

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus and Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus held their news conference to discuss the impact of the debt talks on minority groups, particularly when it comes to possible cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

Cleaver said he was concerned the plan could hurt Social Security recipients.

"Social Security is personal to me," Cleaver said, talking about his 89-year-old father's reliance on Social Security income.

Cleaver wasn't the only one to express his displeasure with the "Gang of Six."

"I think it's an insult to the caucus that we have to go back to a 'Gang of Six,' much less go to the Senate for a solution to this problem," said Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-New York. "The way it has been set up in this Congress, the question of taxes, Medicare and Social Security belong, constitutionally, to the Ways and Means committee and the Finance committee." Rangel is a member of the Ways and Means committee.

The Constitution requires legislation that raises revenue to originate in the House of Representatives.

"I, for one, can't see how we can possibly go back home and tell our constituents that we have no clue what six people have come up with and the president apparently to some extent has embraced it," Rangel said. "So, it's really something that is embarrassing to me."

Asked if he could support the plan, Cleaver wouldn't give a direct answer.

"I think it would be difficult for us to get into an in-depth answer on something that we only have some news reports on and we have not had anything presented to us on paper," he said.

Filed under: Congressional Black Caucus • Debt • Deficit • Medicare • Social Security
soundoff (15 Responses)
  1. GOP = Greed Over People

    From the criticism that seems to be coming from both sides of the aisle, the "Gang of 6" plan is not going to be the road to salvation.

    Does anyone in Congress even remember the Boles-Simpson report? When I read it, it sounded pretty good to me, the pain seemed to be spread evenly. As I recall, it is in legislative form and was vetted by the CBO.

    July 20, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  2. Moderate Sean

    I lean Democratic at times, but people, get over yourselves...we have to work together and fix things to be able to move forward in a viable way...when we don't have the funds we have to adjust on some issues and and scale back in others....helloooo! Thanks!

    July 20, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  3. The Greedy Old Pigs have declared war on US!

    From what little detail has emerged so far a lot of changes may be needed in the interests of fairness. However, certain parts about closing tax loopholes shows at least some softening on the right. Perhaps among the extremists there are a few moderate Republicans who put America's interests above corporations and the ultrawealthy,.

    July 20, 2011 09:41 pm at 9:41 pm |
  4. Peter s

    Its okay to have a stand! but what is your solution?

    July 20, 2011 10:10 pm at 10:10 pm |
  5. brians

    let's pass it so we can see what's in it.

    July 20, 2011 10:34 pm at 10:34 pm |
  6. John

    Ok If this Isn't going to work than let get something that both side can agree on and let rise the dept ceiling be for It to late. What are the American People paying you People For you can't Compromise on anything and the Republican don't want to compromise on nothing. It got to be there plan or no plan. And American People are getting feed up with the Republican Point of view.

    July 20, 2011 10:36 pm at 10:36 pm |
  7. Ed

    I'm surprised the Mexican Caucus is against Dick Durbin. He is the last Senator I want messing with my well being, selling our country out first and foremost to Mexico.

    July 20, 2011 11:03 pm at 11:03 pm |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Given I haven't seen the entire plan, I don't know how much is going to affect Social Security. I'd like it not to affect anyone who is like Emanuel Cleaver's father at the age of 89. The problem is changing the start date of full and partial benefits. That is something that does need to be worked out. There should also be other items in there on the entitlements. I would hope that the GOP would be willing to accept the raising of taxes and not just of closing of loop holes.

    July 20, 2011 11:05 pm at 11:05 pm |
  9. JP

    Since Rangal would be in jail if he wasn't in congress his opinion counts for nothing. 40% of every dollar we spend is borrowed it just can't continue. Stop the insanity, cut spending.

    July 20, 2011 11:08 pm at 11:08 pm |
  10. GonzoinHouston

    If the Far Left and the Far Right are more-or-less equally outraged, it is probably a good idea.

    We need means testing for Social Security, a means-based copay for Medicare, closure of various tax loopholes and subsidies, and a tax hike tied to the unemployment rate. Good luck getting all of that passed.

    July 20, 2011 11:54 pm at 11:54 pm |
  11. Bob

    Somebody should tell that crook Rangell that we don't want him being the mouthpiece for Democrats.

    This gang of six plan puts the full tax load on the middle class, while letting the uber-rich continue to invest overseas. I don't see the job creation that was supposed to result from the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

    July 21, 2011 12:01 am at 12:01 am |
  12. Aaron

    No way that any member of Congress, regardless of party, is going to put aside self-interests to get the job done.

    July 21, 2011 01:14 am at 1:14 am |
  13. Mike

    Emmanuel Cleaver is one of the worst Representatives ever, if he opposes this plan it's clearly the way to go.

    July 21, 2011 02:06 am at 2:06 am |
  14. We Will Fight On

    you complain and complain and all you want to do in the black caucus is give more support in government aide to your bros and sis. Support America and not WELFARE. Just more gimmie the freebies and foodstamps. GET A REAL JOB!

    July 21, 2011 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  15. Debra From Georgia

    It is amazing how the rich want to ride the backs of the middle class and poor folks. It use to be a time where they picked on welfare recipients. Now I see, it was them who wanted the money. Let us just call it " Corporate Welfare"

    July 21, 2011 06:55 am at 6:55 am |