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Debt ceiling increase passes Congress

By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

On Friday, Sept. 8, 2017, Congress passed a bill to raise the debt ceiling without making any budget cuts.  President Donald Trump brokered a deal with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.; Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.; Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis.; and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.  GOP conservatives, including most of the Alabama Delegation, who had been pushing for spending restraints opposed the bipartisan deal.

U.S. Rep. Gary Palmer, R-Hoover, wrote in a statement Saturday, “Yesterday’s vote on raising the debt limit for 3 months while also providing additional funding for relief to the victims of Hurricane Harvey is another example of how Congress allows itself to be forced into bad choices. By attaching funding for the victims of Hurricane Harvey to a short-term debt-limit increase the Texas and Louisiana victims of Hurricane Harvey were made hostage to the vote on the debt limit that denied us any opportunity to get needed changes in government spending. Earlier in the week I joined my colleagues in voting for the first round of funding for FEMA to continue to provide much-needed relief for the Hurricane Harvey victims. I am more than willing to continue to provide that support in a way that makes sense and does not allow massive amounts of pork spending to be included. That said, America is facing another gathering storm, but it is not a natural storm, it is a fiscal storm that will affect every man, woman, boy and girl in our country if we do not take appropriate action. This is a man-made disaster that we can and must avoid.”

U.S. Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Montrose, issued a statement after voting against a legislative package including a three month Continuing Resolution to fund the government, a three month increase in the debt ceiling, and a three month extension of the flood insurance program.  Rep. Byrne said, “Just yesterday I sat in an Armed Services Committee hearing and heard Navy leaders explain how harmful a short-term Continuing Resolution is to our military men and women, as well as our overall readiness. Additionally, this legislation raises the debt ceiling without any kinds of reforms to control our out of control spending. This is unacceptable. Given these serious concerns, I could not support today’s short-term package.”

Byrne added, “The House has done our work and passed a full year funding bill for the military and other critical agencies. Sadly, the Senate has again failed to advance a single funding bill and the dangerous cycle of governing from crisis to crisis continues. The American people want us to make the difficult choices and do our job, and this package falls short of that standard.”

Byrne also expressed his support for aid to help assist Texas and victims of Hurricane Harvey.  Byrne said: “I voted earlier this week to approve funding to help our Gulf Coast neighbors rebuild following the devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey, and I intend to support future aid packages. Having dealt with our fair share of these tropical events, I certainly understand the need for timely and adequate aid, and I expect more aid will be necessary.  I am disappointed the important hurricane relief funding was ultimately tied to this short-term spending bill and an increase in the debt ceiling. I do not think it is appropriate to combine these very complex issues into the same package.”

U.S. Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Huntsville, said on social media, “Today, I voted against the debt ceiling deal because it is wholly and completely financially irresponsible. The deal dramatically increases America’s debt burden by $600 billion and hastens the day America suffers a debilitating insolvency and bankruptcy. Adding to the deal’s flaws, it subjects the Tennessee Valley’s national defense industry to the adverse effects of yet another continuing resolution. Congress and the White House must act financially responsible for the sake of America’s solvency and national security before it is too late.”

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U.S. Rep. Martha Roby, R-Montgomery, also voted against raising the debt limit without making any cuts to federal spending:

The package passed the House by a vote of 316 to 90.  H.R. 601, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2018 and Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Relief Requirements Act, 2017 was signed by Trump on Friday, Sept. 8, 2017.

The National Debt has now soared to $20.16 trillion and will continue to grow as long as Congress refused to balance the budget.  The deficit is currently $687 billion.

Brandon Moseley is a former reporter at the Alabama Political Reporter.

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