Congressman José E. Serrano voted against the legislation raising the nation’s debt ceiling, saying the package urged on Congress by President Barack Obama and the leaders of both parties cut necessary programs and failed to raise taxes on the wealthy.
“My constituents will not benefit in the slightest from this package—and in fact will suffer from its effects,” Serrano said in a statement. “They work hard, and pay their taxes, and should not see the social safety net that they rely on slashed solely to preserve low tax rates for billionaires. On their behalf I voted ‘no’ on this senseless package, which will do nothing to create jobs or help the economy grow.”
Serrano was one of 95 liberal Democrats who joined 66 Republicans in voting to reject the deal, passed on Aug. 1, as the national debt teetered on the brink of default.
He blamed Republicans for the crisis, and said, “I appreciate the difficult situation that President Obama and other negotiators were put in ,” but said he was “very disappointed by the whole process and the legislative product that has resulted. Our nation was made great by our investments in our people and country, not by preserving wealth for the very few.”
The measure that the White House, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and the House Republican leadership devised in 11th hour negotiations passed the House 269 to 161, with the backing of 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats.
The New York delegation was evenly split on the issue. The other two Bronx members of Congress who represent parts of the Bronx, Eliot Engel and Joseph Crowley, joined Serrano in voting against the measure.