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Senate rejects Cut, Cap and Balance

Sen. Amy Klobuchar
Sen. Amy Klobuchar

WASHINGTON — Minnesota Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Al Franken joined their Democratic colleagues in blocking the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation this morning.

The bill — which would have cut federal spending, cap it in the future and put a controversial balanced budget amendment to the states for ratification — passed the Republian-controlled House of Represenatives easily on Tuesday. The Senate, which is controlled by Democrats, was never expected to approve the bill. It fell 51-46 on a party-line procedural vote.

Repbulicans have highlighted the legislation a way to cut the budget enough to approve an increase to the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt limit. Minnesota Republican Reps. John Kline and Erik Paulsen spoke in favor of the legislation on the floor on Tuesday.

Rep. John Kline
Rep. John Kline

“It’s time for Washington to do what’s right. We need to make the tough choices necessary to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. No one said it would be easy, but it is certainly necessary,” Kline said. “The legislation before us today will end unsustainable spending and put this nation back on a fiscally responsible path.”

But Democrats said the bill would lead to dramatic cuts to entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security and would handcuff the government from reacting to future recessions. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid called the bill “perhaps some of the worst pieces of legislation in this history of this country.”

With Cut, Cap and Balance now out of the way, all eyes turn to debt limit negotiations between President Obama and Congressional leaders. Negotiators are reportedly looking at a plan that would rely on up to $3 trillion in spending cuts with tax reform coming later on. Democrats have said revenue increases must be part of any final agreement

Both Klobuchar and Franken have said they oppose efforts to dramatically cut the budget in exchange for a increase in the debt ceiling. They have favored an approach that blends spending cuts with increased revenue and changes to the tax code.

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Comments (6)

  1. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 07/22/2011 - 11:52 am.

    If Republicans really wanted to avoid disaster, they would offer something Democrats could swallow, or even just go for a clean debt ceiling increase. Instead they deny defaulting on the debt would cause any problems, and make ridiculous demands that show they don’t see a problem. They just want what they want.

    I can’t believe I’m saying this in the face of the most easily avoided economic crisis in history, but the price of avoidance is too high. We’re dealing with deniers. Unless the Republicans suddenly mature, disaster is inevitable. All that will be accomplished by giving them what they demand is to set up the next confrontation where disaster looms and they make unreasonable demands again.

  2. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 07/22/2011 - 12:05 pm.

    The Republicans are truly pathetic: CCB, if passed, would have required that the be deficit cut in half next year, by current deficit amounts, that would be about 600 to 800 billion.

    Yet, all that they are willing to propose is 111 billion in cuts.

    They can’t even live up to their own stupidity.

  3. Submitted by Ron Gotzman on 07/22/2011 - 02:21 pm.

    I am still waiting for Obama’s plan and the Senate budget.

  4. Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 07/22/2011 - 02:33 pm.

    Since the current deficits are largely a result of a Republican war in Iraq and Republican-led tax cuts during the Bush years, it takes incredible nerve to blame this on Democratic spending. But then the majority of American voters make their voting selections based on either who offers the biggest tax cut or on who yells the loudest.

    So we demand that our spouses buy us a new car for Christmas, then complain when the checking account is empty and we are in debt. Well, we already have the car now so the only solution is to drop the family coverage from our work-sponsored health insurance and start shopping for kids’ clothes at Goodwill.

  5. Submitted by Tom Christensen on 07/22/2011 - 05:02 pm.

    What we need are sensible politicians that run the government in the same manner they should be running their own lives – balanced. Instead political fanatics have grabbed a hold of our government because the voters didn’t pay attention. The Republicans have run amok with zero leadership. All they are doing is responding to political zealots who are only interested in serving themselves and a special few. Sensibility doesn’t enter the Republican equation. The government needs the flexibility to respond to the unforeseen which a balanced budget wouldn’t let them do. What the president really needs is line item veto authority to get the pork out of the bills that cross his desk for signature. Bills with “pork” attached to them that don’t relate to the bill what so ever need a way to be eliminated. Our problem would not be so great if it weren’t for Bush’s two unpaid for wars and Medicare part D. Take them out of the picture and America would still be humming along. All you have to remember about the definition of conservative is George W. Bush was a Republican conservative and the Republicans stood by voiceless while Bush spent America off into fiscal oblivion. Voiceless is the route the Republicans chose with Bush so they should also be voiceless now because they don’t have a clue what they are doing which is obvious from their crazy rhetoric.

  6. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 07/23/2011 - 06:16 am.

    I wish we’d see the national press call out the Republican members of Congress when they say that entitlement programs are THE problem and that cutting them (in order to “save” them, of course) is what we must do. It’s a terrible lie.

    Social Security is entirely funded by the payroll tax we all pay until we retire. It adds nothing to the deficit.

    Medicare funding, also from the payroll tax, might also be adequate were it not burdened by the excess expense of the Republican’s privatization of the drug plan — $86 billion per year in additional out-of-pocket and governmental spending per economist Dean Baker.

    The deficit comes from two things: the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy and the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Which Obama and the Congress have, unfortunately, so far failed to end.

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