WASHINGTON, DC (WWAY) -– Months of tension, wrangling and political posturing may end Tuesday if Congress gives final approval to a compromise on the federal debt ceiling. The US House approved the bill Monday night. The Senate is expected to vote Tuesday. Meanwhile southeastern North Carolina’s representatives in Congress are sounding off.
While the deal passed the House, it did not get the support of Rep. Mike McIntyre (D-7th District).
“This bill does not meet the necessary tests to protect our financial security, our national security, and our personal security,” McIntyre said in a statement. “First, by raising the debt ceiling once again, we are extending our nation’s credit card for additional debt and continuing the spending binge that we must stop. We MUST rein in government spending.
“Second, we are risking our national security with arbitrary, harmful cuts that would undermine our force structure, capabilities, and the ability to provide for our national security, which is to ‘provide the common defense’ that is our constitutional duty and is necessary for a free and strong United States. Everyone must share in reductions in spending, but to specifically, and arbitrarily, slash our nation’s defense is not responsible. As General Martin Dempsey, the current Army Chief of Staff who has been nominated to become the next Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said, deep defense cuts would be ‘extraordinarily difficult and very high risk.’
“And third, we are risking the personal security of many with the cuts to Medicare providers and our hospitals who are on the front lines serving so many who need help. These are risks that are too great, too serious, and too grave. We can and we should do better for the security of our country. This deal could have been done without arbitrarily risking these critical programs.”
When the bill moves to the Senate, it is likely to get bipartisan support from North Carolina.
“Tonight, history was made as the House of Representatives passed a proposal that required spending cuts in order for the debt ceiling to be increased,” Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) said. “This common-sense, but long overdue, action was absolutely vital to stop the practice of ‘spend and borrow’ that has been commonplace for so long in Washington. By passing this proposal, a strong precedent was set that any increase in the debt must be accompanied by equal cuts in spending, and through this debate we have shifted the focus from spending to actual cuts in spending.
“Since the beginning of this debate, I have said that the top priorities we must address are avoiding default and reining in federal spending. This proposal, while not perfect, does achieve those goals. This debate has changed the way Washington and all Americans view our national debt and our out-of-control spending problem, and while it does not go far enough to address the issue of our budget process, it takes a big step towards putting our nation on track to fiscal responsibility.”
Sen. Kay Hagan (D-NC) also supports the deal.
“While the agreement reached by the bipartisan Congressional leaders and the White House might not be my first choice for a solution, there is no doubt that we need to get our fiscal house in order and avoid a default,” Hagan said. “This agreement averts a default crisis without relying on a short-term patch that would leave the markets in turmoil and harm our seniors, our veterans or our military in the field. Though I would have preferred a bigger deal – balanced along the lines of the one outlined by the bipartisan deficit reduction commission chaired by North Carolina’s Erskine Bowles and Sen. Alan Simpson – this agreement is a good start.
“With our economy recovering too slowly, it is clear that we have spent too much time in Washington posturing and bickering when what we need to do is come together to get our economy back on track. I am hopeful that we can now focus relentlessly on putting Americans back to work. Jobs are priorities number one, two and three.”