By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, September 8, 2017, Sen. Luther Strange, R-Alabama, voted to raise the debt ceiling. Not only did Strange vote to raise the debt ceiling and add $15.25 billion to the national deficit, he also voted against an amendment offered up by U.S. Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky., that would have halted $15.25 billion of foreign aid to pay for Hurricane Harvey relief.
Rand Paul’s “America First” amendment, supported by nine other conservative Republicans – including Sens. Ted Cruz, R-Texas; Jim Inhofe, R-Ok.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Tim Scott, R-S.C.; and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. – was designed as a solution to the budget crisis. It would have provided a way for the federal government to fund Hurricane Harvey aid without raising the debt ceiling.
Roy Moore’s Campaign Chairman Bill Armistead said, “The decision by Luther Strange to side with Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer in raising the debt ceiling is a clear indication the Luther has been bought and paid for by the D.C. establishment. Furthermore, Luther’s refusal to back Senator Paul’s amendment to utilize unspent foreign aid to help the people of Texas, who have been devastated by Hurricane Harvey, makes him unqualified to serve as our Senator.”
Former Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is running against Strange, said, “As U.S. Senator, I will always put America first. No tricks. No games. Just the truth and a commitment to the people of Alabama and to the United States of America. If I had been Alabama’s senator yesterday, I would have voted for ‘America First’ with these bold, conservative Senators.”
Moore added, “The games being played in Washington are exactly why we have not replaced Obamacare, balanced the budget, or rebuilt our military. These are promises the Republicans made, but have failed to keep.”
Senator Paul said that his “America First” amendment was, “to cut wasteful spending from abroad to pay for much-needed relief here at home.” Paul said that, “Moving forward, any new spending should be offset by significant reforms.”
Sen. Strange said in a statement, “Today, I stood with President Trump and voted to deliver urgent relief to thousands of our Gulf Coast neighbors who are suffering in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey. It is high time for the federal government to balance its budget like the hardworking families of Alabama, and I remain committed to reaching a long-term solution on the debt ceiling. However, I agree with President Trump that the need to authorize critical relief funding is simply too urgent for the Senate to wait and address these issues separately.”
Strange’s campaign has been dogged by allegations that his appointment by disgraced Governor Robert Bentley may have been tainted by unethical conduct. The Alabama Ethics Commission is still investigating several complaints filed against Strange for ethics and campaign finance issues.
The special Republican Primary runoff between Strange and former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Moore will be on September 26.
The winner of the runoff will face Clinton-era U.S. Attorney Doug Jones on December 12.