UPDATED (11:10am): With Casey Out in Front, PA Congressional Delegation Begins Commenting on Tentative Debt Ceiling Deal
Though Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) had just finished endorsing the newly minted, yet-to-be-finalized budget deal, U.S. Senator Bob Casey released a statement Sunday night in which he declared his intention to support the pact in order “to avoid default, cut government spending and provide some economic certainty.”
“This proposal does make significant cuts in government spending,” Casey said in the statement, emailed to PoliticsPA late Sunday night. “There are many details still to be determined. The process moving forward should embrace the concept of shared sacrifice and not force those who can least afford it to bear the burden. Powerful special interests should not be exempt from paying their fair share while working Pennsylvanians are asked to carry the load.”
Republican Congressman Tim Murphy (PA-18) released a statement soon thereafter in which he did not take an official position on the agreement, but emphasized the historic nature of the negotiations and declared the “era of the blank check is over.”
“At no time in the past seventy years have spending cuts been equal in magnitude to an increase in the debt limit,” Murphy said. “And although many Americans were frustrated at the tedious nature of the back-and-forth negotiations, it has been through these deliberations that we’ve achieved results that reflect a monumental change from the status quo. The conversation in our country has changed from how much Congress spends to how much Congress cuts.”
The tentative budget deal reached Sunday would cap discretionary spending with the goal of saving more than $917 billion over the next decade, while allowing the debt ceiling to be hiked $900 billion through February over next year. The pact, which still must be approved by rank-and-file members and sent to the President before Tuesday’s debt ceiling deadline, would also require Congress to vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment before the end of the year, as well as create a twelve-member panel to carve out an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction proposals.
UPDATE (11:10am): Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick (PA-8) told the Bucks County Courier Times he was “cautiously optimistic” out the agreement and its prospects for passage on Monday. “I have been speaking with constituents on the telephone all weekend, and they want the matter resolved and, at the same time, they want to put an end to out-of-control government spending,” Fitzpatrick told reporter Bill Devlin. “This is a framework that appears to put us on that path.”
UPDATE (9:45am) The Post-Gazette reported on Monday that Congressman Mike Doyle expressed concern that the agreement, which features so-called “trigger” cuts if Congress cannot agree to adopt the congressional panel’s additional recommendations by late December, could potentially slash entitlements funding.
“This is a manufactured crisis by the crazy wing of the Republican Party,” Doyle told the Post-Gazette late Sunday night. “The tea party has caused this to happen. Just because a bunch of ideologues manufacture a crisis and bring us to the brink of default, we’re going to sell out the vulnerable people in this country? I have a problem with that.”
Sunday night’s high-profile agreement came two days after the Democratic-controlled Senate rejected a plan fashioned by House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and passed by the Republican-controlled House of the Representatives. Republican Keystone State Congressmen Charlie Dent, Mike Fitzpatrick, Jim Gerlach, Pat Meehan, Lou Barletta, Mike Kelly, Tim Murphy, Glenn Thompson, Bill Shuster, Tom Marino, Todd Platts and Joe Pitts supported the measure.
Democrats Bob Brady, Chaka Fattah, Allyson Schwartz, Jason Altmire, Mike Doyle, Mark Critz and Tim Holden voted against it.
Check back with PoliticsPA on Monday for more budget deal updates.