The deal is done. Both chambers of Congress have now voted, and President Obama has signed an unprecedented bill into law to avert the immediate catastrophe of a government default. But the country will be living with the consequences of this deal for decades to come.
By agreeing to unprecedented spending cuts without additional revenues - not even modest tax increases on the wealthiest billionaires and corporations - lawmakers have set in motion a series of events that are almost certain to result in devastating cuts to the safety net programs that protect the most vulnerable women and families. On the chopping block in the months ahead: essential programs like Head Start, medical research into breast cancer and other deadly diseases, implementation of health reform, family planning, child care, nursing home care, nutrition assistance, education, housing and countless other programs that support Americans who need help the most.
These safety-net programs have long defined our core values as a nation. At stake in the decisions that lie just ahead is the future of the middle class, the economic security of families - and what we stand for as a country.
We all get sick, get old, lose jobs, and hit hard times. Government's role in helping during those rough patches - with health care and other basic supports - is now uncertain. So where does America go from here?
Tea Party values are not America's values, and lawmakers must restore the priorities that Americans support - and re-establish the federal agenda this country deserves.