All Iowans vote against final debt ceiling deal in House

The House of Representatives passed the bill on raising the debt ceiling today by a surprisingly large margin of 269 to 161 (roll call). About three quarters of the Republicans recognized what a great deal they wrangled out of a weak president. However, Tom Latham (IA-04) and Steve King (IA-05) were among the 66 House Republicans who voted no.

Vice President Joe Biden spent part of Monday selling this raw deal to Democrats on the hill, and half the Democratic caucus ended up voting yes, including Gabrielle Giffords, making her first return to the capitol since she was shot in January. Bruce Braley (IA-01), Dave Loebsack (IA-02) and Leonard Boswell (IA-03) were all among the 95 Democrats who voted no.

Memo to Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and all other stupid Democrats who voted for today's deal: This is why no one powerful ever cares what House Democrats say. Republicans got President Barack Obama to meet almost 100 percent of their demands. They should have been forced to provide 100 percent of the votes to approve this bill. Pelosi claimed the deal protected Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security from cuts, but the "super-Congress" deficit-cutting commission will have other ideas. Some other Democrats pointed to large potential cuts in defense spending over the next decade. I have a bridge in Windsor Heights to sell anyone who believes those cuts will materialize.

After the jump I've posted statements on today's vote from Braley, Loebsack, Boswell and Latham. I will add King's when it appears. I have requested a comment from King's Democratic challenger, Christie Vilsack, and if I receive a reply I will post it below. Click here for details about how Iowans voted on the debt ceiling bills that reached the House floor Friday and Saturday.

UPDATE: Added King's statement slamming the debt limit deal below. Like Latham, he said the agreement didn't do enough to limit future government spending. In their comments, Braley, Loebsack and Boswell all emphasized that the deal puts too much of the deficit-cutting burden on the middle class while protecting wealthy individuals and special interests.

Statement from Representative Bruce Braley, August 1:

Washington, DC - Today, Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01) released thefollowing statement after the vote on the debt ceiling:

"The simple truth is, today's vote is a symbol of everything that's wrong in Washington: partisan brinksmanship, broken promises, backroom deal making, and kicking the can down the road. Enough is enough. I've been demanding a balanced approach of shared sacrifice from both the President and the Speaker since the beginning of the year. I've listened to my constituents at multiple town halls. Iowans know that when times are tough, families don't just tighten their belts, they also take on extra jobs to increase their income. Today's vote squarely places the burden of deficit reduction on middle class families, while demanding nothing of millionaires, billionaires and corporations making record profits. My constituents don't agree with that, and neither can I."

In recent months, Rep. Braley voted to cut nearly half a trillion dollars from the current budget:

-       He called for an immediate withdrawal of our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, which would save over $1 trillion dollars.

-       He opposed the invasion of Libya, which has cost taxpayers over $700 million dollars in our 5 months of involvement.

-       He fought for legislation to end waste, fraud and abuse in Medicare, which would save up to $700 billion.

-       He opposed the Bush tax cuts,which have already cost over $1.8 trillion dollars. And last December he opposed the extension of President Bush's tax cuts to the wealthiest Americans. By not ending tax cuts for the wealthiest, we will spend another $700 billion over the next decade.

Statement from Representative Dave Loebsack, August 1:

Washington, D.C. - Congressman Dave Loebsack today released the following statement after the vote on S. 365.

"Make no mistake about it, Washington is broken and America should never have gotten to this point. We should be focused on the economy and jobs, not jeopardizing them for political ideology.  The full faith and credit of the United States should never have been held hostage by politicians in Washington.  The most disturbing part of this process is the distressing lack of leadership exhibited all around and the resulting dysfunction of the most powerful nation on earth.

"As a lifelong Iowan, I know we make good on our debts and pay our bills. I am thankful a crisis has been averted, but the solution is almost as flawed as the leadership that has been on display.  Unfortunately, due to this lack of leadership by Congress and the President, Washington has not been focusing on the number one priority of Iowans -- boosting our economy and creating jobs.

"This legislation creates a system that protects special interests, hedge fund managers and Wall Street executives at the expense of the middle class, seniors and the most vulnerable.  The last few weeks have been a classic example of Washington choosing politics over people and it is why I could not support it."

Statement from Representative Leonard Boswell, August 1:

"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."

Statement from Representative Tom Latham, August 1:

Washington, Aug 1 - 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."

Statement from Representative Steve King, August 1:

King Holds the Line Against Debt Limit Increase

Congressman King: "The debt limit deal forfeits the mandate House Republicans received last November to 'hold the line' on the nation's debt and spending."

Washington D.C.- Congressman Steve King (R-IA) released the following statement after voting against legislation considered by the House this afternoon that provides for an increase in the nation's debt limit. The legislation, S. 365, represents the terms of a deal negotiated between Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senator Harry Reid (D-NV), Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY), and President Barack Obama (D-IL) to increase the nation's debt limit.

"Because S.365 represents a retreat from fiscal discipline and from the Balanced Budget Amendment, I voted against it," said King. "S.365's proposed spending cuts are far too small, and the fact that they are far into the future calls into question whether they will ever actually occur. The bill increases the nation's debt burden while placing the responsibility of dealing with Washington's addiction to debt and deficit spending on yet another commission, and on future Congresses and future Presidents."

"As part of the final deal, S.365 also makes it more difficult for Congress to send a strong Balanced Budget Amendment to the states for ratification. It waters down the strong and specific Balanced Budget Amendment language contained in the 'Cut, Cap and Balance' bill. This debt limit deal forfeits the mandate that House Republicans received last November to 'hold the line' on the nation's debt and spending, and I could not support it."

  • Dems voted no

    I'm glad that all of our Democratic reps voted no on this bill.  I had been worried about  Boswell, but he did the right thing in the end.  In fact, this might help him in his swing district.  Loebsack and Braley also resisted administration pressure.  It looks like most of the blue dogs voted yes.

  • Protecting Entitlements

    From what little I read about the deal, I think Pelosi is right - this bill does protect entitlements.  The way I read it (and this could be wrong), the commission can recommend entitlement cuts, but if their proposal isn't approved, the automatic cuts will not include any cuts to entitlements.  If true, there is basically 0% chance of whatever the commission comes up with will be passed, and entitlements will be protected.

    I'm not sure about the defense cuts - it seems like the last time we cut defense spending, we really did cut it - both in real dollar terms and dramatically as a percentage of GDP.  (Sorry to cite Heritage, but it was the best graph I could find.  I wonder though if they didn't count the supplemental bills in their analysis for 2003-2007.)


    • Obama wants to cut entitlements

      So do Congressional Republicans. It will happen, if not directly because of this deal, then as a consequence of the next hostage-taking operation.

      Seems like Heritage isn't counting the war supplemental bills in that analysis. There is tremendous waste in our defense budget; it's telling that Republicans NEVER go after "waste, fraud and abuse" from that angle. Democrats are still too afraid of being labeled soft on protecting the country.

  • Bos

    Boswell had to wait until Latham voted so he could match Lathams vote.

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