How Did PA Congressmen Vote on Budget Deal?
The House of Representatives passed the bipartisan budget deal on Wednesday.
This deal would raise the debt ceiling and fund the government through March 2017, pushing these issues past the 2016 election. It would essentially wipe the slate clean for incoming Speaker of the House Paul Ryan and prevent any more congressional showdowns in Barack Obama’s presidency.
The final vote was 266-167 with two members not voting. The Democrats uniformly voted for the legislation while the GOP split 79-167.
Among the thirteen Republican Representatives from Pennsylvania six were for the bill while seven were against it. Reps. Costello, Dent, Fitzpatrick, Meehan, Shuster and Thompson voted aye. Congressmen Barletta, Kelly, Marino, Murphy, Perry, Pitts and Rothfus voted no.
The following members released statements concerning their votes:
Rep. Lou Barletta
“This was a budget deal slapped together by Speaker Boehner and President Obama that was revealed to us at the last minute before we were asked to vote on it. This is not the way we should be doing business for the American people and it’s not a responsible method of charting the course of the nation’s finances.
“I was most concerned with the lengthy suspension of the debt limit. To suspend the debt limit for the next 17 months is like giving the president the national credit card with no spending restrictions whatsoever. There are no real reforms included to control spending and no effort to reduce the federal debt in the long term. I find that to be irresponsible, and ultimately a fatal flaw in the bill that I could not live with.
“There are some who say this is the best deal we were going to get, but we don’t know that for sure because it’s the only deal we ever saw. We are about to elect a new Speaker of the House, and he ought to be in a position to negotiate such monumental spending blueprints as we move forward. In the future, I am hopeful that all members of the legislature will be able to have input in crafting such important budget documents.”
Rep. Charlie Dent
“This bill provides much needed stability, predictability, and certainty to the American people. It paves the way for an appropriations process that will allow us to address the many challenges facing our military, veterans, seniors and those citizens most in need of assistance.
Additionally, this agreement includes vital reforms that will stop a 50% increase in Medicare Part B premiums, prevent a catastrophic default from taking place, repeal a harmful provision from the President’s health care law, and provide the Department of Defense with the resources needed to make necessary investments to bolster our national security and the wellbeing of our men and women on the front lines.”
Importantly, this act also incorporates key reforms that will crack down on fraud and loopholes within the Social Security Disability Insurance program (SSDI), keep SSDI solvent through 2022, and save taxpayer dollars.
As Chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Military Construction and Veterans Affairs, I am all too familiar with the strain that the ongoing budget uncertainty has had on the ability of our military service branches and government agencies like the VA to appropriately plan and program for future years.
The current disorder imperils our national security, unnecessarily freezes important investments and hiring, and disrupts our economy on Main Street, impacting the suppliers and small businesses that work with the government. I have previously expressed my unwillingness to support anything short of a proper budget framework that fully funds our national defense, and this proposal meets those requirements.
I supported this bill because it presents Congress and the American people with a fully offset path forward that moves us away from a perpetual pattern of self-imposed ‘cliffs’ and crises, implements reforms that will safeguard benefits for our seniors, and maintains a robust national security posture to provide for our service members while safeguarding our communities and global interests.”
Rep. Mike Kelly
“My constituents sent me to Washington to stop the federal government from spending away our children and grandchildren’s futures. Fiscal responsibility has been a guiding principle of mine since my first day in office. After close review, I believe this particular budget deal will reverse the important progress we’ve made in Congress over the last five years and push Washington’s spending problem in the wrong direction. Unlike other agreements in the past, this deal includes no spending caps or reforms to help tackle our nation’s long-term debt crisis but instead removes the debt ceiling for the rest of this presidency. I simply cannot support such a bill, and this evening, I voted against it.”
Rep. Tom Marino
“This is the same old song and dance. It is business as usual in Washington. I am tired of voting from one crisis to the next. I echoed this same sentiment when I voted against the continuing resolution last month – enough is enough.
It is true, this budget and the process by which it was proposed stinks. Again we were asked to support a budget which appropriately funds our national defenses but also includes shoddy ‘cost-saving offsets.’ Those supposed offsets are nothing but nice-sounding placations. Nevertheless this is nothing but more ‘sleight of hand’ tricks.
No family in America would lavishly and irresponsibly spend the way this government does. Yet, Congress is willing to spend now and try to figure out a way to pay for it 10 years later. My constituents did not send me here to be a rubberstamp for that kind of irresponsible governing.
This budget is a prime example of why we need term limits in Congress, single subject bills and a return to regular order in the House where Members can work to achieve what their constituents sent them here to do.”
Rep. Keith Rothfus
“I opposed this budget deal because it backtracked on the progress Congress has been making to control spending. The nation’s debt is approaching $20 trillion – this is not the legacy we should leave our grandchildren. The deal was also objectionable because it was negotiated in a secretive manner without the input of most members of Congress and only provided thirty-six hours for review,” said Congressman Rothfus. “The broken process that resulted in this legislation is precisely the reason why I, and other reform-minded members of Congress like Paul Ryan, have called for change, so that our constituents have true representation in Washington.”
Rep. Glenn Thompson
“The current budgetary situation has placed a strain upon our nation’s military and has caused funding shortfalls in discretionary spending, which supports a wide array of domestic programs, such as education and job training. While not perfect, the budget agreement provides a path forward that is respectful of taxpayer dollars, and fully offsets military and domestic program authorization increases.
“These offsets include repealing a portion of Obamacare, cracking down on those cheating Social Security Disability Insurance, strengthening the Disability Insurance Trust Fund and ensuring that Medicare beneficiaries are not burdened with drastic rate hikes.
“We must be strategic about funding priorities and provide certainty for those programs in need of support, as we deal with overseas threats and the economic conditions at home. I believe this agreement promotes fiscal restraint, while ensuring our most necessary budget items are adequately addressed.”