Ala. GOP congressmen unanimously vote ‘no’ on debt ceiling hike
Continuing to prove that the phrase “government debt limit” is perhaps the world’s greatest oxymoron, The United States House of Representatives voted 221-201 on Tuesday to raise the nation’s debt ceiling once again.
House Republican leadership backed off their original strategy of trying to use the debt limit hike to force the Democrats to come to the table on spending cuts. House Speaker John Boehner’s decision perhaps signals a new approach after Republicans’ failed attempt to roll back portions of ObamaCare as part of a budget deal last year. Boehner ultimately relied on Democratic votes to end the resulting government shutdown last year, which is basically what happened on Tuesday’s vote as well. 193 Democrats were joined by only 28 Republicans in voting for the bill.
Many conservatives say Boehner simply skipped the fighting this time and went straight to the surrendering.
“A clean debt ceiling is a complete capitulation on the Speaker’s part and demonstrates that he has lost the ability to lead the House of Representatives, let alone his own party,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.
Others say Boehner’s decision allows Republicans to avoid a fight that could potentially be politically damaging in the short term, in favor of a longterm strategy geared toward winning back the Senate later this year.
But although House Republicans frequently struggle to get on the same page, Alabama’s GOP delegation was steadfastly united against the debt ceiling hike. Here are a few of the statements Alabama congressmen put out after the vote:
“I said that I could only support a debt ceiling package that reflects the urgency of our fiscal situation. Unfortunately, this package does not meet that threshold. I hope to work with my colleagues to promote fiscally conservative policies that will balance the federal budget and reduce the debt.” – Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-AL01
“I cannot support a plan that allows our nation’s debt to increase but fails to include reforms to get spending under control going forward. The consequences of hitting the debt ceiling and being unable to pay for already-incurred spending are real, but so too are the consequences of allowing our spending problem to go unresolved. – Rep. Martha Roby, R-AL02
“I could not support raising our nation’s debt limit without cutting spending first. Congress must get its fiscal house in order and make the tough spending decisions before passing legislation to further add to our debt.” Rep. Mike Rogers, AL03
“[W]e’ve got a debt ceiling bill that increases spending, which is diametrically 180 degrees opposite of what we were battling over just two years ago — where the question was how much in spending cuts we were going to get.” – Rep. Mo Brooks, R-AL05
Alabama’s lone Democrat, Rep. Terri Sewell, R-AL07, voted in favor of the hike.
The bill now goes to the Senate, where Sen. Ted Cruz, R-TX, is threatening to mount another filibuster. The move would force the Senate’s 55 Democrats to get at least 5 Republican votes to reach the 60 vote threshold needed to cut off debate and pass the bill.
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