Washington, DC -- Congressman Eliot Engel (D-NY-17) issued the following statement regarding the second version of the House GOP leadership debt bill.  After failing to convince their own members to support the first version, Republican Leadership chose to further pander to their Tea Party members rather than appeal to Democrats to pass a bill.

“It is ironic that a party whose rhetoric against spending is filled with disdain for social programs would go out and spend political capital appeasing Tea Party members, rather than move towards a bipartisan bill.  Republican Leadership had an opportunity once their own caucus rebelled against their plan to come to Democrats and alter the bill so both sides could support it, and have it stand a chance for passage in the Senate.  Instead, they bowed to demands from their most conservative and rigidly inflexible members to make this bill even more unpalatable to Democrats.   This is political theater at its worst, and Americans deserve better than the same, tired old reruns.

“Conservative Tea Party members were willing to plunge the nation in default because they opposed Pell Grants for college students.  They call it ‘welfare’ but they have no problems protecting the special tax breaks enjoyed by billionaires, and corporate welfare for Big Oil.  They were willing to scuttle our nation’s credit because they didn’t want our future leaders to be educated.  They accepted interest rate increases on American families in order to have a vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment – knowing full well it did not have the votes for passage in the Senate.  In their lust for power, and attempt to make the President fail, they chose to put political theater before the good of the country.  For this, they should be ashamed.

“Democrats want to work with the House Majority to craft a bill that could earn votes from both sides, and stand a chance for passage in the Senate.  So far, we are alone in that sentiment.  Americans expect a divided government to compromise and not dig in their heels.  Maybe Republicans will realize this before it is too late.”