Rep. Westmoreland votes against debt ceiling increase
A majority of House Republicans may have voted for the recent U.S. debt ceiling increase, but Third District U.S. Rep. Lynn Westmoreland was not among them.
The final bill failed to provide enough cuts to the deficit and left open the possibility of future tax increases, the Grantville, Ga., congressman said in a news release.
Westmoreland’s statement follows:
“When these negotiations began in January, I made a promise that I would not vote for any legislation that didn’t include significant spending cuts and absolutely no tax increases.
“Unfortunately, the final plan did not include significant enough cuts and left open the possibility for tax increases through this bipartisan commission.
“In addition, it does not require a balanced budget amendment be sent to the states for ratification. Without that constitutional restraint placed on this Congress and future Congresses, we can never guarantee real spending reforms will happen.
“House Republicans also made a promise to the American people that we would bring back an open process here in Congress. Up until now, we have stuck with that promise. We’ve posted legislation on the internet and given the American people and Members of Congress 72 hours to review it. We’ve brought back open rules on appropriations bills, allowing Republican and Democrat members alike to offer amendments.
“But now, after this deal was crafted behind closed doors with only a few members of leadership at the table, we were given less than 12 hours to read and review this extremely important legislation. More time is needed to make an informed decision about legislation of this size and scope.
“Unfortunately, once again, Congress has waited until the last minute to act, pushing us up against this artificial Aug. 2 deadline and forcing a decision on a bill it seems no one actually likes.
“I and other Republicans in the House stuck by our leadership in the hopes we could keep Cut, Cap and Balance alive and negotiate a deal we could support. And while I know they worked hard to get the best deal possible, at the end of the day, it’s just not a deal I can support.
“I commend their efforts though. If you will recall, up until a few months ago, President Obama was still calling for a ‘clean’ debt ceiling increase and last night was still pushing for immediate tax increases on job creators. So we came a long way during these negotiations. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats and the White House stalled any attempt at real spending reform, resulting in this unpopular deal,” stated Westmoreland.
In the press release, Westmoreland detailed what the bill contains:
“After months of debate, tonight the House of Representatives passed S.365, the Budget Control Act of 2011, to raise the debt ceiling and enact some spending reforms.
“Specifically, it would reduce deficits by $917 billion over ten years by capping spending levels and in return raise the debt ceiling $900 billion.
“In addition, it requires a vote on a balanced budget amendment in both the House and the Senate after Oct. 2, 2011 but before the end of the year.
“It then establishes a commission tasked with finding an additional $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in spending cuts by November 23, 2011.
“A second debt ceiling increase of $1.5 trillion would be permitted at the beginning of next year if the balanced budget amendment is sent to the states for ratification, or if the commission proposal includes cuts equal to or greater than $1.5 trillion and those cuts are passed into law.
“If neither happens, a $1.2 trillion debt limit increase would be attached to across the board spending cuts that would equal the difference between $1.2 trillion and the cuts enacted by the commission’s proposal.
“Congressman Westmoreland did not support the legislation.”