The top Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee reacted with outrage Friday to reports that a deal to raise the debt ceiling might include deep cuts to entitlements and only a promise of future tax reforms.
"We're told if nothing's done by 2013, there would be a trade off between the Bush tax cuts and the individual mandate on health care," MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell told Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA).
"I can't think of worse public policy," Frank said. "To put people for example in uncertainty about what health care is going to look like in 2013, is a bad joke."
"But I want to talk about entitlement cuts. I really am offended by this notion that there should be a tradeoff between some of these things and whether or not a 78-year-old woman living on $19,000 a year ought to have further restrictions on her income. I don't know where this notion came from that the cost of living adjustment for Social Security is too lavish."
He continued: "I'm especially troubled, the Obama administration is talking about keeping troops in Iraq beyond the time that George Bush said they should stay out at the cost of billions of dollars. I hope that's not true. And it certainly invalidates any notion that you make the sacrifice elsewhere."
"What do you say to the president?" Mitchell asked. "Is it better to default? You know, you're the ranking member of Financial Services. You know what's at risk here with the ratings services and everybody else that have now gotten into this situation... Is he going to lose the Democratic caucus?"
"Yes," Frank predicted. "I've already voted to raise the debt limit. I voted to raise it earlier this year straight forward. And by the way, it's not my debt limit. I voted against the war in Iraq and I voted against the Bush tax cuts. On my debt limit, I got a couple trillion left to go. I was very generous. I voted to raise the other people's debt."
"I don't think the president should allow the irresponsibility of the right wing to say, 'We're going to shoot you if you don't do this.' No, I don't want there to be a default but there are worse things than default. And worse things than default are wrenching the American government out of shape, losing the principle of majority rule that's been such and important gift from America to the rest of the world, inflicting pain on the most vulnerable people in our society, continuing to spend hundreds of billions of dollars to subsidize military budgets all over the world and cut back on people here."