Published August 03, 2011
| Fox News Latino
Well, the United States didn't default on its debt.
But now that the smoke has cleared, politicians with largely Latino constituencies disagree over what more than $2 trillion in cuts over the next decade will mean for all Americans.
Rep. Charles Rangel (D-NY), who represents an increasingly Hispanic district in Harlem believes that Latinos, who have been the recession's biggest losers, together with black Americans, will bear the brunt of the pain that comes from a debt deal flush with cuts to social programs.
"[Latinos] have the highest unemployment, along with African Americans," Rep. Charles Rangel told Fox News Latino. "And when you start talking about cutting $2 trillion dollars in services you talk about laying off people who provide those services."
"It is a bad deal because they talk about joint sacrifice -- there’s no joint sacrifice in this," he said. "Those that are on the bottom of the economic ladder are the ones who will be making all of the sacrifice."
Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, (R-FL) who is the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and represents a heavily Hispanic district in Southern Florida, took exception to the assertion that cuts to entitlement programs would do disproportionate damage to Latinos.
Ros-Lehtinen told Fox News Latino that it is wrong to think that “all Latinos want social services all the time.”
“That’s a stereotype of what the Latino community is,” she said. “The Latino community is [also] made up of small business owners who understand that we have to get government off our backs. No tax hikes is good for small business owners. Small business owners understand you can’t keep spending money that you don’t have.”
Rangel, who was forced to step down as chair of the Ways and Means Committee, directed most of his ire at Tea Party Republicans, who he believes hijacked the debt negotiation and put the president in a lose-lose position.
"When you’re dealing with people that don’t mind dying, that don’t mind default, that are ready to take down your great country for what they believe in, well, then the president had no choice," Rangel said.
But Ros-Lehtinen bristled at finger-pointing and put the spotlight on the importance of making tough budget decisions.
“If people are worried about cuts now, imagine how many cuts there would be when we’re broke,” she said.
“We want to make sure we’ll have a sustainable future. The way to do that is to have caps so we don’t spend too much, and that we work toward a balanced budget.”
Ros-Lehtinen said that the deal that passed is “good for all communities.”
But Rangel reiterated his belief that the working class and minorities will be disproportionately affected.
"I don’t think it’s a Democrat and Republican issue," he said.
"I think it’s an issue of the vulnerable people among us."