Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Debt Ceiling Debate

No Deal: How often do we see a vote on a controversial issue in Washington where all 7 of Iowa's members of Congress vote the same way? Perhaps, it's happened sometime. But I sure can't remember it. It just happened. Monday in the house, all 5 of the state's members (3 Dems, 2 Repubs) voted against the compromise bill to raise the debt ceiling. And then today, both senators (1 Dem, 1 Repub) voted against it. In the end, the Iowans' votes didn't affect much, at least as far as the outcome goes. The bill passed handily in both chambers. But the Iowans collectively made a statement that the deal wasn't good enough for them.

I was particularly interested in Democratic Congressman Leonard Boswell's choice, along with Republican Congressman Tom Latham, since they'll go head to head next year in the new 3rd district. Latham's said to be very tight with House Speaker John Boehner. So I wondered if he would go along with the Republican leadership on this. But, in the end, leadership didn't need his vote anyway. Here are the statements the two men's office sent out:

This is Boswell's:

"I have said from the beginning of this process that there must be shared sacrifice when it comes to reducing the deficit. We are all Americans, and we should all pitch in and pay our fair share. The deal brought forth today unfortunately continues to pass the buck on making the difficult and balanced decisions needed to restore some sense of fiscal sanity to Washington. The way the process is set up cannot guarantee a balanced approach moving forward, and continues to hold middle-class Americans hostage for the sake of preserving tax cuts for Big Oil and hedge fund managers that pay lower taxes than their secretaries. It also sets Medicare up for cuts in the future, which I cannot abide by. It is an absolute disgrace that it ever got to this point and proves to me that the Republican leadership was never serious about real compromise in the first place."

This is Latham's:

WASHINGTON, DC – Iowa Congressman Tom Latham issued the following statement Monday evening after voting against S. 365, the agreement to raise the nation’s debt ceiling by the largest hike in history:

“While no common-sense American wants our country to default on its obligations or have our credit downgraded, it is our responsibility to draw a line in the sand for fiscal sanity and responsibility and restore confidence in the American Dream.

“I have been very clear in our debate about spending that I will only support measures that meet the realistic approach of immediately cutting wasteful spending, imposing spending caps as a percentage of our economy going forward, and requiring a balanced budget amendment. This debate is an opportunity to stop giving Washington permission in the form of a blank check to continue its irresponsible spending spree well beyond its means.

“This legislation does not do enough to control future spending, and it does not guarantee true long-term changes in how Washington spends taxpayer dollars. And, since it does not meet or exceed the criteria I set forth, I opposed and voted against this legislation.”

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