Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. Niki Tsongas are both Democrats, but they voted differently on the debt deal that was signed by President Barack Obama Tuesday. Tsongas was a yes. Frank, a no.
But despite their disagreement on the deal, they both told Radio Boston that the negotiations was affected deeply by what they characterized as a stubborn faction of the Republican party.
"The House of Representatives (and) the United States Senate are institutions that are built upon the capacity to compromise," Tsongas told Radio Boston. "What we saw too often was a significant number of members on the Republican side of the aisle who simply refused to compromise."
Frank put it in even stronger terms.
“We believe that coming together and pooling our resources — which we call 'government' — is essential to civilized society,” Frank said. “So what I’m saying is, that was a disadvantage the President was at: you have one group prepared to blow things up. And unfortunately they get an advantage.”
Nevertheless, a compromise was reached that passed both houses. So does that mean the system worked? Despite the mess, the rancor, and the profound unhappiness from members of both parties with the deal, was it just government in action? Or government inaction?
- Barney Frank, representative, Massachusetts 4th Congressional District
- Niki Tsongas, representative, Massachusetts 5th Congressional District
- David King, public policy lecturer, Harvard Kennedy School; author, "Why People Don't Trust Government"
- Bill Curry, columnist, Hartford Courant; former counselor to President Clinton
This segment aired on August 2, 2011.