The House on Thursday voted to allow the government to go $1.9 trillion deeper in debt — or about $6,000 more for every U.S. resident. The measure, approved 217-212, would raise the cap on federal borrowing to $14.3 trillion. That's enough to keep Congress from having to vote again before the November elections on an issue that is feeding a sense among voters that the government is spending too much and putting future generations under a mountain of debt to do it.
Already, the accumulated debt amounts to roughly $40,000 per person. And the debt is increasingly held by foreign nations such as China.
Passage of the bill would send it to President Barack Obama, who will sign it to avoid a first-ever, market-rattling default on U.S. obligations.
"I can't think of a more reckless or irresponsible act. Defaulting is not an option," said Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Mass. "If the United States defaults, investors will lose confidence that the U.S. will honor its debts in the future.
Democrats barely passed it through the Senate last week over a unanimous "no" vote from GOP members present.
And we have this half-arsed measure.
To help win passage, Democrats are also adopting — in a vote later Thursday afternoon — budget rules designed to curb a spiraling upward annual deficit — projected by Obama to hit a record $1.56 trillion for the budget year ending Sept. 30. The new rules would require future spending increases or tax cuts to be paid for with either cuts to other programs or equivalent tax increases.
Pay as you go, as this is referred to, is overrated. It doesn't do much. We don't need a pay as you go program. We need government to spend less money than it takes in period.
If the rules are broken, the White House budget office would force automatic cuts to programs like Medicare, farm subsidies and unemployment insurance. Current rules lack such teeth and have commonly been waived over the past few years at a cost of almost $1 trillion.
Most other benefit programs — including Medicaid, Social Security and food stamps — would be exempt from such cuts, and Republicans said that the rules lack teeth.
"In place of real fiscal discipline, it offers a phony pay-as-you-go rule that is more loopholes and exceptions and does nothing to tackle our government's long-term structural deficit," said Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas.
Skeptics say lawmakers also will find ways around the new rules fairly easily. Congress, for example, can declare some spending an "emergency" — a likely scenario for votes later this month to extend jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed.
In other words, the supposed safeguards are smoke and mirrors. It was thrown in because this is unpopular, and those who voted for it can pat themselves on the back and say they are watching the spending. In reality, they are doing jack.
"We don't have a choice," said Rep. John Tanner, D-Tenn. "We are on an unsustainable march toward a fiscal Armageddon." Obama's budget projects the government's debt doubling to $26 trillion over the next decade. It offers few solutions for seriously closing the gap other than promising to appoint a bipartisan commission to come up with a plan to address the problem.
Commissions. Another joke. How about passing a budget that spends less money than it takes in. Period. That's it. It's not hard. All it takes is discipline, hard works, and balls. That's something that congress lacks, and that Obama never had.
Thomas has the roll call vote. 217 yes votes. All democrats. 212 nays. 175 Republican and 37 democrat. 5 didn't vote, 2 democrats and 3 republicans.
Of the Michigan delegation.
District 1 - Stupak - Y
District 2 - Hoekstra - N
District 3 - Ehlers - N
District 4 - Camp - N
District 5 - Kildee - Y
District 6 - Upton - N
District 7 - Schauer - N
District 8 - Rogers - N
District 9 - Peters - N
District 10 - Miller - N
District 11 - McCotter - N
District 12 - Levin - Y
District 13 - Kilpatrick - Y
District 14 - Conyers - Y
District 15 - Dingell - Y
Schauer and Peters voted no. Feeling the heat from the populace? Great job with your constent complaining to Peters, John. This is just crazy what they are doing to this country. It's like giving a shopaholic you platinum card with an almost $2 Trillion limit. Is Congress trying to bankrupt America? Why don't they cut spending and start paying off this debt? I was out of control when Bush and Congress did it and now it is 4 times worse then Bush and it's Obamas first year. What this admin and Congress are doing is criminal. If you have a state or a Congressperson you would like to out on this blog PLEASE DO. We will send them a copy of the blog so they know we are watching. And if a Congressperson voted against it let us know so we can thank them. We need to vote these gererational pirates out of office.