Lee Unhappy About Budget Deal; Can’t Help 99ers, But Fasts For Poor

BUSY WEEK FOR OAKLAND LAWMAKER; LITTLE ACCOMPLISHED IN GOP-DOMINATED HOUSE
By Steven Tavares

Many Democrats are unhappy about the deal struck with House Republicans late Friday night which averted a shut down of government services. The most liberal member of congress, Rep. Barbara Lee was most critical of the deal amounting to the largest single spending cut in U.S. history, saying it was forged on the backs of the poor and women.

”Republicans want to finance their unpaid-for tax breaks for the wealthy on the backs of our most vulnerable populations and under served communities,” Lee said, adding she would not support the resolution because it would greatly impact low-income families and the poor.

The $38.5 billion budget cut keeps the federal government running until September. But many like Lee felt the president gave too little in exchange and doubting funding for Planned Parenthood—a favorite target of Republicans—should have ever been on the chopping block in the first place. Reinstatement of the program is part of the deal made at 11 p.m. eastern time Friday, and hour before the deadline.

“It is also extremely disappointing that Republicans took our government to the brink of a costly shutdown all for the sake of preventing women from accessing critical health services like breast exams, prenatal care and birth control,” said Lee. “Republicans should stop trying to block women from getting the health care that they need and work with Democrats to craft a common-sense bill to fund our government.

Lee said she will work in coming months to reverse some of the cuts to social programs for the needy. A bill put forth by Lee to give long-term unemployed Americans a shot at receiving benefits appears to be foundering with stingy House Republican leadership. A meeting with Lee and GOP leaders discussing the bill to help so-called 99ers was scheduled for Thursday, but cancelled as budget negotiations continued through Friday night.

The East Bay’s other congressional representative, Rep. Pete Stark, was also affected by the turbulence in Washington. He cancelled a town hall meeting this week in Fremont and Alameda due to the on-going negotiations. And in the meantime, Lee fasted for 24 hours to protest budget cuts for the poor. Watch the video:

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