The third-ranking Democrat in the Senate, Charles Schumer of New York, accused Republicans in Congress of working to undermine an economic recovery Thursday. Schumer asserted in an address to the Economic Policy Institute that the Republican fiscal approach of "cut, cut, cut" has undermined the nation's attempt at a financial rebound, and he charged that doing so is central to the GOP's long-term strategy.
"Insisting on a slash-and-burn approach may be part of this plan," Schumer said, "it is ideologically tidy and it undermines the economic recovery, which they think only helps them in 2012." Adding, "They are opposing the economic recovery itself - and all that means for America's working and middle class families."
Republicans believe that the nation's sluggish economic recovery is due to a massive federal budget deficit, and that the best way to narrow the gap between what the government takes in and spends is through spending cuts. They add that reducing the budget deficit will help grow the economy.
The office of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said that viewpoint has bipartisan support. "The president said yesterday that lowering the deficit would help the economy," said McConnell spokesman Don Stewart, "According to the president, what we are doing helps the economy."
Schumer noted that in the ongoing debate over raising the nation's debt ceiling, the Democrats have pushed to repeal a host of tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthy, a move Republicans have rejected so far. The New York Democrat did not say how much revenue his party expected to raise through a repeal of the tax incentives, nor would he say that Democrats would refuse a deal that didn't include new sources of revenue.
Republicans insist that any debt deal cannot include a tax increase.
Schumer predicted that in the end, a party rooting for economic failure would feel the nation's wrath. "If the public comes to believe that Republicans are deliberately sabotaging the economy, it will backfire politically," Schumer said.