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Minnesota lawmakers begin to weigh in on debt plan

President Barack Obama talking about the debt ceiling crisis on Sunday.
REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
President Barack Obama talking about the debt ceiling crisis on Sunday.

WASHINGTON — Congress will take up early this week a debt limit increase and deficit reduction plan hatched by President Obama and congressional leaders Sunday to end a stalemate that has consumed Washington all summer.

Update, 10:55 a.m.: Amy Klobuchar just came out in support of the plan, saying in a statement, “While it is certainly not a perfect plan, the time has come to break through the partisan stalemate and pass a solution that provides certainty so we can move our country forward.”

Update, 2:20 p.m.: Republican John Kline is a yes vote on the debt limit agreement.

This product is frankly much better than I was afraid it would be,” he said in an interview. “There is not a single person in either party who says this is perfect. In balance, I’m going to be supporting it.”

Kline did say he was nervous about potential cuts to defense spending, a category of spending that could be cut if a joint committee of lawmakers does not find $1.5 trillion in new savings by the fall.

That’s a concern shared by Chip Cravaack, who said has not decided how he will vote yet.

“I have really big concerns about potential cuts to our military,” he said after greeting constituents in Statuary Hall. “We’re engaged in Iraq, Afghanistan and now the president has us engaged in Libya. This is not the time to pull the rug out from under our troops.”

Cravaack also said he was concerned about potential cuts to Medicare, another potential target for less spending should the joint committee not find the needed cuts.

Meanwhile, Democrat Keith Ellison tells Minnesota Public Radio he is “disinclined” to vote for the debt deal. Democrat Tim Walz says he has not yet decided how he will vote.

Update, 3:55 p.m.: Keith Ellison, speaking with the Congressional Progressive Caucus, confirms he is voting no on the debt deal.

Sen. Al Franken, meanwhile, said he will vote for it.

“Defaulting would have grave economic consequences for my Minnesota constituents,” he said in a statement. “The deal does protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries. And it will erase some of the uncertainty confronting businesses and the markets.”

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Comments (7)

  1. Submitted by Rod Loper on 08/01/2011 - 11:55 am.

    I think it is high time to realize that Obama is
    a terrific negociator when his opponent is his own base. He has been tough as nails expanding the
    war, pandering to the surveillance state, dismissing single payer,extending the Bush tax cuts and failing to mount a jobs program. Any sign
    that he is pushing back at the republicans anywhere?

  2. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 08/01/2011 - 12:24 pm.

    It now seems that Speaker Boehner will need some Democratic votes to get this passed. I can think of no compelling reason for House Democrats to support this “compromise”. In exchange for their votes, House Democrats get what, a face-saving measure for their President who has steadfastly negotiated most Democratic issues into oblivion?

    Republicans created this phony “crisis” by refusing to simply raise the debt ceiling. They own it. To date, Speaker Boehner has been only concerned with placating the Tea Partiers in his caucus but they still refuse to accept any compromise that doesn’t give them everything they want. So now, the Democrats in the House are expected to support the Speaker so that he doesn’t have to play hard ball with his Tea Partiers? House Democrats got nothing from this “compromise” and should remind the Speaker of that by just saying no.

  3. Submitted by David Greene on 08/01/2011 - 01:21 pm.

    @Rod and Jim,

    While I sympathize with your views and was initially very upset at Dayton for his negotiation process, the truth is that one cannot negotiate with people who just don’t care. Obama’s choice was to accept something to raise the debt limit or veto and let the economy tank. The other side simply does not care what the consequences of its intransigence are.

    Obama was the better man here, though he will pay a political price.

  4. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 08/01/2011 - 03:49 pm.

    David (#3): Senator Bernie Sanders and other maintain that the 14th Amendment to the Constitution gives the president the power to raise the debt limit all by his lonesome.

    If he would be so kind as to do that, then some semblance of authentic give and take (versus Ds giving and Rs receiving everything they ask for) could return to the Congress.

    I can’t even guess why Mr. Obama has not tried the 14th Amendment approach. Seeking “compromise” with the Right has been pointless since his first day in office.

  5. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 08/01/2011 - 04:26 pm.

    I agree that Republicans, both here in Minnesota, and now in D.C. have made it abundantly clear that they are willing to destroy the economy of our state and nation, in order to force the rest of us to do things their way.

    Of course the end result is that we’re destroying the economy of our state and nation anyway, precisely BECAUSE we’re being forced to do things their way; because we’re being forced to accept long term damage and dire consequences in order to avoid immediate and even more dire consequences both of which they seem completely unconcerned about.

    The worst thing is, that they and their media lapdogs will find a way to convince the American people that, whatever damage results from the “conservative” way of doing things is the fault of everyone BUT the conservatives who have forced these extreme cuts while leaving the richest of the rich untouched and asking for NO sacrifices from those most able to afford such sacrifices and who would, themselves, suffer NO damage, even from far larger tax increases than anyone has proposed.

    With the support of the media they will likely successfully convince the American people that the reason for our collapsing economy is that Obama is a “weak” president who, conversely, stood in the way of allowing them to go FAR ENOUGH in destroying everything, to SAVE everything (and NO, of course, that makes no sense, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be successful selling it).

  6. Submitted by David Greene on 08/01/2011 - 04:53 pm.

    @Bernice

    It’s not at all clear the 14th Amendment allows a unilateral debt ceiling lift. More likely, it would result in something more like Pawlenty’s unallotments, with the President having to cut spending unilaterally to bring things into balance.

    In any case, the real danger here was not default itself but APPEARANCE of default. The stock market was already taking a dive on Thursday, to the point that Speaker Boehner waited until after close on Friday to announce that the vote on his plan was delayed.

    Remember, the economy is not actually based in reality. It’s based in what people think reality WILL be.

  7. Submitted by Glenn Mesaros on 08/02/2011 - 06:57 am.

    Over 66% of children on Medicaid in Cook County, IL, were DENIED doctors’ appointments for dangerous illnesses ranging from broken bones, to asthma, diabetes, bad skin rashes, and depression, reports a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine June 16. There are about 40 million U.S. children insured by Medicaid. In the study, researchers led by Dr. Karin Rhodes, an emergency medicine specialist at the University of Pennsylvania…OK, now this is BEFORE the fascist coup that Obama brought on with the SuperCongress that CANNOT be amended. After the London/Wall Street puppet NeroBama rams through his unconstitutional debt deal and trillion dollar cuts, millions, like these children, and old people, will die, sooner rather than later. The only solution to stop the Wall Street Hitler type coup is to reinstate FDR’s Glass Steagall now with HR 1489.

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