Fiscal cliff deal: "Borrowing is economic cocaine," says Dick Lamm
Former Colorado Governor Dick Lamm is speaking out about the last-minute deal in Washington D.C. to avert a fiscal cliff -- and backing Senator Michael Bennet, who defied his party and a Senate majority to vote "no." Lamm, who is part of the national Campaign to Fix the Debt effort, slams the plan, saying that out-of-control borrowing has become "economic cocaine" in the United States.
"I think that the budgetary situation is nation-threatening," Lamm says. "I think that my generation has really imposed itself greatly on your generation."
The fiscal cliff deal maintains tax cuts for many Americans, but increases rates on the wealthy -- and also delays cuts through sequestration. It overwhelmingly passed in the Senate and after much drama, it was approved by the House, too, with yes votes from prominent Republicans, including Speaker John Boehner.
That means Colorado junior senator Bennet, a Democrat, voted against the White House's compromise plan, while high-ranking GOP officials supported it.
To explain his vote, Bennet released a statement calling Washington the "land of flickering lights" and saying the proposal didn't create a strong enough plan to address the nation's debt. This stance put him at odds with Senator Mark Udall, who voted for the measure in part because the deal maintained a a one-year extension of the Wind Production Tax Credit, which he has been boosting for months
Campaign to Fix the Debt Part of a new ad from the organization urging a better plan to address the debt than the fiscal cliff deal.
Lamm, a past Colorado governor, says he did not expect Bennet to speak out as he did.
"I was surprised," Lamm says, but adds, "I can absolutely see what he's saying."
Lamm, a co-chair of the Colorado steering committee for the Campaign to Fix the Debt, says, "Michael Bennet is trying better than most...to point out that we are kicking too many cans down the road."
At the same time, Lamm says he recognizes that the position could make things tough for Bennet, who recently began running the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a party fundraising arm.
"He's gonna have some explaining to do," says Lamm. "He's got a reservoir of good will.... As it becomes more and more apparent that we've solved so little of the total problem, it won't hurt him politically. That would be my guess."
Lamm says it's important for elected officials to sometimes stray from party lines.
"Bennet is really working across the aisle," he says. "I'm immensely impressed...with his integrity."
Of the fiscal cliff deal and the nation's debt problem, Lamm says, "I also feel that one of the great challenges of the next twenty years is...how do you make America's expectations realistic?"
Continue for more comments from Lamm and the full campaign statement.