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Government Shutdown Showdown: 100-0

Posted by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 3:56 PM
  • 5 Replies

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate voted 100-0 Wednesday to clear a key procedural hurdle toward passing a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown in six days. The vote occurred after a dramatic overnight floor speech by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and his allies who waged a filibuster-styled effort in opposition to President Obama's health care law.

This afternoon's vote cleared the way to begin debate on a House-passed stopgap spending bill that includes language to defund the Affordable Care Act. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is expected to strip that provision fom the bill and return to the House later this week a clean stopgap measure to keep the government funded through Nov. 15.

"Every hour we delay here, we move closer to shutting down our government," Reid said after the vote.


The overwhelming support for the procedural vote made clear that the votes do not exist in Congress to defund the law, but Cruz's filibuster-style speech drew praise from colleagues and opponents of the law. Cruz held the floor for more than 21 hours, yielding only for questions from supportive Republican senators. In the end, even Cruz voted to end debate.

"Americans owe Sen. Ted Cruz a debt of gratitude for standing on principle in the fight to stop 'Obamacare,'" the conservative anti-tax Club for Growth President Chris Chocola said. "The Washington elite is in complete denial, but here are the facts: Obamacare is a disaster, it is one of the biggest assaults on individual liberty in history, it is stifling economic growth, and it will not work."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, will have three options once the Senate volleys back the spending bill: reject it, approve it or amend it and send it back to the Senate with little more than 24 hours before a shutdown takes place. The House canceled a scheduled recess this week to return to Washington today. Boehner has not said how the House will respond.

Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., have advocated for attaching to the spending bill a repeal of the 2.3% tax on medical devices enacted as part of the ACA to help pay for its implementation. A non-binding amendment to the Senate budget resolution this year drew 79 votes in support of repealing the tax.

Congress is expected to be in session through the weekend to try to resolve the impasse.

There is broad GOP opposition to the health care law, and congressional Republicans are using two impending budget votes to attempt to dismantle Obamacare, which begins open enrollment on Oct. 1. However, President Obama has vowed to veto any legislation that delays or defunds his signature domestic achievement, and his Democratic allies in the Senate stand to reject any bill the House sends over to that end.


Treasury Secretary Jack Lew reminded Congress on Wednesday that the second budget battle looms in just three weeks, advising lawmakers the United States will hit its borrowing limit no later than Oct. 17.

Raising the debt ceiling requires a vote of congressional approval. Failing to raise the debt ceiling would result in the U.S. defaulting on its debt payments for the first time in history.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Obama will likely talk with congressional leaders in the days ahead, but no specific meeting has been set.

"It would be irresponsible not to fund the essential functions of government out of ideological pique," Carney said.

While Obama is willing to discuss ways to forge a new spending plan, Carney repeated that the president would not negotiate over the debt ceiling; raising that limit will enable the government to pay bills in has already incurred, the spokesman said.

Otherwise, he said, the government will default on debts, damaging the national and global economy.

"The debt ceiling must be raised," Carney said. "This cannot and should not be a matter of negotiation."

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough will go to Capitol Hill later today to meet with House Democrats on the budget.

House GOP leaders are preparing a legislative package tied to a debt ceiling that could get a vote as early as next week. House Republicans will meet Thursday morning where leadership will brief their rank-and-file morning on their proposed debt ceiling package.

In exchange for suspending the debt ceiling through 2014 and past the midterm elections, Republicans are seeking a one-year delay in the opening of the requirement that uninsured people buy health insurance through a series of state health care exchanges. They are scheduled to go online Oct. 1. Other parts of the law have been in effect since 2010.

In addition, Republican leaders are expected to include in the package instructions for an overhaul of the federal tax code, authorization of the controversial Keystone XL oil pipeline, as well as a list of popular GOP economic provisions to reduce environmental and small business regulations, among others. The package is also expected to include budget savings achieved through changes in mandatory Medicare spending and reductions in the Dodd Frank financial overhaul law.

Obama and congressional Democrats have vowed not to negotiate on the debt ceiling, but Republicans believe they hold some leverage in the budget debate because of the keen interest among leading Democrats — including Senate Appropriations Chairwoman Barbara Mikulski and Reid — to reach an agreement to turn off the unpopular, across-the-board budget cuts known as the sequester, for up to two years.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2013/09/25/senate-vote-shutdown-cr-obamacare/2868517/

by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 3:56 PM
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SallyMJ
by Ruby Member on Sep. 25, 2013 at 4:07 PM

What a difference a few years make:


Annotating Obama’s 2006 speech against boosting the debt limit

 at 06:02 AM ET, 01/15/2013


(Pablo Martinez Monsivais/AP)


“I think if you look at the history, getting votes for the debt ceiling is always difficult, and budgets in this town are always difficult.”

— President Obama, news conference, Jan. 14, 2013

 “The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills. ... I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

— Then-Sen. Barack Obama, floor speech in the Senate, March 16, 2006

 

As the saying goes, “where you stand depends on where you sit.” This is certainly true of the votes to boost the national debt limit, where almost by tradition, the party not holding the presidency refused to support an increase in the debt limit. (One big exception, as we have noted, is in 1953 during the Eisenhower presidency.)

 The president has acknowledged that his previous vote against the debt limit was “a political vote.” On Monday, at a news conference, he urged lawmakers to boost the debt limit without conditions: “We’re going to have to make sure that people are looking at this in a responsible way, rather than just through the lens of politics.”  (In other words, don’t do what I did back when I was a lawmaker.)

 In making his case, Obama noted: “The debt ceiling is not a question of authorizing more spending. Raising the debt ceiling does not authorize more spending. It simply allows the country to pay for spending that Congress has already committed to.”  He added that he was willing to have a “conversation” about reducing the deficit, but the debt limit was not the right vehicle.

 With that in mind, we were curious to look back at Obama’s 2006 speech and examine the case he made at the time for not supporting a boost in the debt limit. Below is the entire speech. At key points, we will offer commentary or further explanation.

 

Obama’s 2006 speech on the debt limit

 “Mr. President, I rise today to talk about America’s debt problem. The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. government can’t pay its own bills.”

 

Here, Obama is sounding a bit Tea Partyish.

 

“It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our government’s reckless fiscal policies. Over the past five years, our federal debt has increased by $3.5 trillion to $8.6 trillion. That is  ‘‘trillion’’ with a ‘‘T.’’ That is money that we have borrowed from the Social Security trust fund, borrowed from China and Japan, borrowed from American taxpayers.”

 

Obama’s language is remarkably similar to charges made by the Mitt Romney campaign against Obama during the 2012 election, though Romney mostly focused on the debt held by China. (Japan was ignored.) When Obama took office in the midst of the Great Recession, the total national debt was $10.6 trillion; it is now $16.4 trillion.

 

“And over the next five years, between now and 2011, the president’s budget will increase the debt by almost another $3.5 trillion.”

 

It actually increased $5 trillion by the start of fiscal 2011.

  
“Numbers that large are sometimes hard to understand. Some people may wonder why they matter. Here is why: This year, the federal government will spend $220 billion on interest. That is more money to pay interest on our national debt than we’ll spend on Medicaid and the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.
“That is more money to pay interest on our debt this year than we will spend on education, homeland security, transportation and veterans benefits combined. It is more money in one year than we are likely to spend to rebuild the devastated gulf coast in a way that honors the best of America. And the cost of our debt is one of the fastest growing expenses in the federal budget.”

Despite the increase in the debt the past seven years, interest costs actually have dropped, to about $200 billion a year, because interest rates have fallen so much during the economic slowdown. But if interest rates go up again, interest expense will soar.

“This rising debt is a hidden domestic enemy, robbing our cities and states of critical investments in infrastructure like bridges, ports and levees; robbing our families and our children of critical investments in education and health-care reform; robbing our seniors of the retirement and health security they have counted on.
“Every dollar we pay in interest is a dollar that is not going to investment in America’s priorities. Instead, interest payments are a significant tax on all Americans — a debt tax that Washington doesn’t want to talk about. If Washington were serious about honest tax relief in this country, we would see an effort to reduce our national debt by returning to responsible fiscal policies.”
“But we are not doing that. Despite repeated efforts by Senators Conrad and Feingold, the Senate continues to reject a return to the commonsense pay-go rules that used to apply. Previously, pay-go rules applied both to increases in mandatory spending and to tax cuts. The Senate had to abide by the commonsense budgeting principle of balancing expenses and revenues.
“Unfortunately, the principle was abandoned, and now the demands of budget discipline apply only to spending. As a result, tax breaks have not been paid for by reductions in Federal spending, and thus the only way to pay for them has been to increase our deficit to historically high levels and borrow more and more money. Now we have to pay for those tax breaks plus the cost of borrowing for them. Instead of reducing the deficit, as some people claimed, the fiscal policies of this administration and its allies in Congress will add more than $600 million in debt for each of the next five years. That is why I will once again co-sponsor the pay-go amendment and continue to hope that my colleagues will return to a smart rule that has worked in the past and can work again.”

The rules were restored in 2010.

“Our debt also matters internationally. My friend, the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, likes to remind us that it took 42 presidents 224 years to run up only $1 trillion of foreign-held debt. This administration did more than that in just five years.”

This is also similar to another line used by Romney against Obama during the 2012 campaign.

“Now, there is nothing wrong with borrowing from foreign countries. But we must remember that the more we depend on foreign nations to lend us money, the more our economic security is tied to the whims of foreign leaders whose interests might not be aligned with ours.

“Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here.’ Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better. I therefore intend to oppose the effort to increase America’s debt limit.”

 

Debrowsky
by Gold Member on Sep. 25, 2013 at 4:34 PM
1 mom liked this

wow, he sure knows how to speak with forked tongue.  I hold him responsible for our government shutting down- he always impedes what is right in going forward. always.

Billiejeens
by Ruby Member on Sep. 25, 2013 at 4:41 PM

 

He speaks with forked telepromtpter.

Quoting Debrowsky:

wow, he sure knows how to speak with forked tongue.  I hold him responsible for our government shutting down- he always impedes what is right in going forward. always.


 

Debrowsky
by Gold Member on Sep. 25, 2013 at 4:44 PM


laughing

Quoting Billiejeens:


He speaks with forked telepromtpter.

Quoting Debrowsky:

wow, he sure knows how to speak with forked tongue.  I hold him responsible for our government shutting down- he always impedes what is right in going forward. always.





SherryBerry106
by on Sep. 25, 2013 at 4:45 PM

 

 sidesplittinglaughter

Quoting Billiejeens:

 

He speaks with forked TelePrompter.

Quoting Debrowsky:

wow, he sure knows how to speak with forked tongue.  I hold him responsible for our government shutting down- he always impedes what is right in going forward. always.

 

 

 

 

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