Shutdown Ends: How the PA Delegation Voted
The shutdown is over and the debt ceiling has been raised. After 16 grueling days of stalemate and widespread frustration, a Senate-crafted compromise passed through Congress and will be signed by the President.
Republicans who were using the budget fight to gain leverage on defunding Obamacare were left all but empty handed. Other than a minor provision that tightens income verification rules under Obamacare, Democrats were not forced to give up any of the items that the GOP was aiming for.
The government will be funded until January 15; the debt limit increased through February 7.
In the Senate, the bill had overwhelming support, passing 81-18. Bob Casey voted yes, while Pat Toomey voted no.
“I hope this experience will help change the tone in Washington and that members on both sides of the aisle will refocus their efforts on creating jobs and strengthening the economy,” Casey chastened in a statement.
Toomey said he voted no because, while he supported reopening the government, he opposed raising the debt limit.
“I disagreed with the plan to make funding the government contingent on defunding Obamacare and I am glad this bill will get the shutdown behind us,” he said. “But I cannot support piling hundreds of billions of dollars of debt on current and future generations of Americans without even a sliver of reform to start putting our fiscal house in order.”
The House passed the bill 285 to 144. All Democrats voted yes, including the 5 from Pa.
Republicans opposed the bill 144 to 87, although 9 of 13 House Republicans from Pa. also voted yes.
‘Yes’ votes included the four eastern Pa. moderates, Reps. who had called for a ‘clean’ CR: Charlie Dent, Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Gerlach and Pat Meehan.
Also voting yes were five Republicans who frequently vote with the conservative contingent of the GOP: Reps. Lou Barletta, Mike Kelly, Tim Murphy, Bill Shuster and GT Thomspon.
Four Pa. conservatives joined Toomey in voting against the bill: Reps. Tom Marino, Scott Perry, Joe Pitts and Keith Rothfus.
“At a time when far too many Americans continue to struggle to find work and make ends meet, this bill eliminates the serious risk of greater economic chaos. Chaos that threatened to wipe out retirement savings for middle-class families and make it even harder for businesses of all sizes to hire and grow,” said Gerlach in a press release.
National polls showed that the shutdown disproportionately impacted public opinion of Republicans, and it’s sure to be a campaign issue in 2014 and beyond.
To wit, the Pa. Democratic Party blasted Toomey over his vote.
“Tea Party Pat Toomey has once again shown his true colors by leading the most extreme wing against a policy to reopen the government and help hundreds of thousand of middle class Americans,” said spokesman Marc Eisenstein.