After weeks of contentious negotiations, the U.S House of Representatives easily passed a measure to raise the country’s debt ceiling Monday and avoid the first federal government default.
From Yarmuth’s office:
“Tonight, I chose to stand up for what the American people have demanded. Throughout this politically-induced crisis, my constituents have been loud and clear: any plan to reduce our debt must protect Medicare and require millionaires, billionaires, and big oil companies to share in the sacrifice.
This plan asks nothing of the wealthy few and will inevitably lead to cuts in Medicare, education, and the investments we need to create jobs and get our economy back on track.”
The plan cuts nearly $1 trillion in government spending over the next 10 years. It will also create a special congressional committee of a dozen members (three from each party from the House and the Senate) who will come up with recommendations for $1.5 trillion in additional deficit cuts by December.
It’s expected those reductions could include cuts from defense and social entitlement programs, as well as changes to the tax code.
The 6-member Kentucky delegation in the House approved the plan 4 to 2, with Yarmuth being joined by Congressman Geoff Davis, R-Ky., against the bill. On the opposite side of the political spectrum, Davis voted against the bill for very different reasons, however.
From Davis’s office:
“First, unlike the original House version of the Budget Control Act, this bill decouples the passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment with the second portion of the debt limit increase. This was an important component of the original bill and making the second debt limit increase contingent on its passage would have a lasting impact on getting spending in check.
Second, while there is certainly room for cuts and efficiency improvements in every federal agency and program, I have concerns about the method by which cuts would take place if the Joint Select Committee did not work as intended. For the sake of our country, I hope the Committee is successful and reports to Congress a deficit reduction package that addresses the true cost drivers. However, in the event that does not happen, the sequester mechanism could be devastating to defense during a time of war and to Medicare when health care providers are already facing cuts thanks to President Obama’s health care law.”
The Senate will vote on the deal at noon Tuesday, where it’s expected to pass before going to President Obama’s desk for signature. Political observers predict Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., will vote for the bill while Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is expected to vote against it.