Ala. senators vote NO on debt bill
From Alabama's senior Senator Richard Shelby (R-Tuscaloosa):
"I firmly oppose this deal because it compromises our financial future. Its sole immediate guarantee is that the debt ceiling will increase. Its spending cuts are illusory because they are spread out over a decade and subject to override by future Congresses. It's the equivalent of an addict who promises to quit tomorrow in return for indulgence today. Even if all of this bill's promises become reality – and that's a huge if – the debt will still increase by approximately $8 trillion over the next ten years. Our goal should have been to avoid a downgrade of our creditworthiness by enacting meaningful spending cuts. We may still fail to achieve the former because we did not summon the courage to accomplish the latter."
Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Mobile) also voted NO. Reaction from his office:
This bill will reduce spending and does represent fiscal progress. But we have an extremely long way to go. We are going to spend around $45 trillion over the next ten years and add as much as $13 trillion to our debt. Our Republican leaders deserve credit for extracting these first spending cuts from a president and a Democrat Senate who remain committed to more spending and more government growth.
But my great reservation that compels me to oppose this bill is that we are undermining the one thing most vital to ending the debt crisis looming over us: accountability.
The new normal in Washington has become panic-driven 11th hour votes in which Members are told to fall into line before pandemonium ensues. This is no way to run the Congress or to run the government.
I fear we are relinquishing our responsibility as Senators.
There is even a little-known provision in the final bill that exempts the Senate from having to adopt a budget for two more years. It has now been 825 days since the Democrat-led Senate has passed a budget—this measure will allow us to continue running the government with no budget plan in place.
As dire as our situation is right now, it is only going to get worse. Our debt is now almost the size of our entire economy. By 2035 it will be twice the size of our entire economy. But absent deep, systemic reforms we are headed for national disaster long before that date. We cannot solve the defining challenge of our era by shutting down committees, eliminating votes, and shielding bills from amendment. The answer to our problem is more accountability, not less. No select committee or secret meeting is going to force the Congress to look in the mirror or to look the American people in the eye. The only way we are ultimately going to rise out from this chasm of debt, and climb to greater heights as a nation, is by making government more open, more accountable, and more responsive to the good and decent people we serve."
Two Alabama representatives, Mo Brooks and Martha Roby, voted NO on the House's version the bill Monday evening. The other five voted to approve it.
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