It’s been pretty rare to see Iowa’s Congressional delegation vote the same way on a bill. Today all five voted against the debt limit deal struck by Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and President Barack Obama, albeit for different reasons. It passed the House on a 269 to 161 vote.
Congressman Steve King (R-IA) said that this deal forfeits any mandate that House Republicans had as the spending cuts were not deep enough and were planned too far out to guarantee they would actually occur. In a statement released tonight Congressman King said:
Because S.365 represents a retreat from fiscal discipline and from the Balanced Budget Amendment, I voted against it. S.365’s proposed spending cuts are far too small, and the fact that they are far into the future calls into question whether they will ever actually occur. The bill increases the nation’s debt burden while placing the responsibility of dealing with Washington’s addiction to debt and deficit spending on yet another commission, and on future Congresses and future Presidents.
As part of the final deal, S.365 also makes it more difficult for Congress to send a strong Balanced Budget Amendment to the states for ratification. It waters down the strong and specific Balanced Budget Amendment language contained in the ‘Cut, Cap and Balance’ bill. This debt limit deal forfeits the mandate that House Republicans received last November to ‘hold the line’ on the nation’s debt and spending, and I could not support it.
Congressman Tom Latham (R-IA) in a statement made tonight said that this debt limit hike represented the largest hike in history and it doesn’t do enough to control future spending.
While no common-sense American wants our country to default on its obligations or have our credit downgraded, it is our responsibility to draw a line in the sand for fiscal sanity and responsibility and restore confidence in the American Dream.
I have been very clear in our debate about spending that I will only support measures that meet the realistic approach of immediately cutting wasteful spending, imposing spending caps as a percentage of our economy going forward, and requiring a balanced budget amendment. This debate is an opportunity to stop giving Washington permission in the form of a blank check to continue its irresponsible spending spree well beyond its means.
This legislation does not do enough to control future spending, and it does not guarantee true long-term changes in how Washington spends taxpayer dollars. And, since it does not meet or exceed the criteria I set forth, I opposed and voted against this legislation.
I have said from the beginning of this process that there must be shared sacrifice when it comes to reducing the deficit. We are all Americans, and we should all pitch in and pay our fair share. The deal brought forth today unfortunately continues to pass the buck on making the difficult and balanced decisions needed to restore some sense of fiscal sanity to Washington. The way the process is set up cannot guarantee a balanced approach moving forward, and continues to hold middle-class Americans hostage for the sake of preserving tax cuts for Big Oil and hedge fund managers that pay lower taxes than their secretaries. It also sets Medicare up for cuts in the future, which I cannot abide by. It is an absolute disgrace that it ever got to this point and proves to me that the Republican leadership was never serious about real compromise in the first place.
The simple truth is, today’s vote is a symbol of everything that’s wrong in Washington: partisan brinksmanship, broken promises, backroom deal making, and kicking the can down the road. Enough is enough. I’ve been demanding a balanced approach of shared sacrifice from both the President and the Speaker since the beginning of the year. I’ve listened to my constituents at multiple town halls. Iowans know that when times are tough, families don’t just tighten their belts, they also take on extra jobs to increase their income. Today’s vote squarely places the burden of deficit reduction on middle class families, while demanding nothing of millionaires, billionaires and corporations making record profits. My constituents don’t agree with that, and neither can I.
Make no mistake about it, Washington is broken and America should never have gotten to this point. We should be focused on the economy and jobs, not jeopardizing them for political ideology. The full faith and credit of the United States should never have been held hostage by politicians in Washington. The most disturbing part of this process is the distressing lack of leadership exhibited all around and the resulting dysfunction of the most powerful nation on earth.
As a lifelong Iowan, I know we make good on our debts and pay our bills. I am thankful a crisis has been averted, but the solution is almost as flawed as the leadership that has been on display. Unfortunately, due to this lack of leadership by Congress and the President, Washington has not been focusing on the number one priority of Iowans — boosting our economy and creating jobs.
This legislation creates a system that protects special interests, hedge fund managers and Wall Street executives at the expense of the middle class, seniors and the most vulnerable. The last few weeks have been a classic example of Washington choosing politics over people and it is why I could not support it.
The Senate is scheduled to vote on the debt ceiling deal tomorrow.