WASHINGTON, D.C. — Rep. John Kline is leading a charge against House Democrats following a vote this afternoon that raised the nation’s debt ceiling to more than $14 trillion. The vote in the House was 217-212, and it split along party lines among the Minnesota delegation, Democrats voting for, Republicans against.
There’s nothing necessarily new there — most Republicans on the offensive this afternoon broke down the $1.9 trillion increase into smaller numbers, like how many aircraft carriers or college educations that could buy, while Democrats said the vote was painful but necessary, given that the United States would default on its obligations (Social Security and Medicare included) were the debt ceiling not raised.
What is new is Kline’s focus — on the legislation passed between Dec. 16, the last time the debt limit was raised — and today. Resolutions to congratulate sports teams including Penn State women’s volleyball and the Dartmouth Outing Club, and bills to name post offices, things like that. Those votes are very common, often grumbled about (especially if they force members into Washington a day early) but haven’t much been the bullets in political ammunition this session.
Said Kline in a news release this afternoon:
It has been seven weeks since majority leadership in Congress last voted to increase the debt limit – raising it by $290 billion on Dec. 16, 2009. In that time, Speaker Pelosi and majority leadership have:
- Passed seven resolutions congratulating sports figures or teams;
- Passed 23 resolutions honoring individuals, entities, or causes;
- Passed five bills naming post offices;
- Authorized $50 million to construct a new National Park in the Virgin Islands; and
- Passed ZERO bills to reduce spending or lower the deficit.