Posts tagged ‘federal debt’

March 9, 2012

Senate Moves to Waive Budget Control Act Provisions

In debating S. 1813, the Federal Transportation funding bill, known as Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act, a motion was passed by a vote of 66-31 to waive the budgetary restrictions of the Budget Control Act, capping discretionary spending. In effect, the motion renders the Budget Control Act meaningless in controlling the growth of Federal spending.

Republican Senators Alexander (R-TN), Blunt (R-MO), Boozman (R-AR), Brown (R-MA), Cochran (R-MS), Collins (R-ME), Heller (R-NV), Hoeven (R-ND), Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Shelby (R-AL), Snowe (R-ME), Vitter (R-LA), and Wicker (R-MS) voted to waive budgetary restrictions, while all Democrats voted for the motion except Warner of Virginia.

February 14, 2012

House Passes Line Item Veto Bill

The House passed HR 3521, a bill which allows the President to rescind  any part of a spending bill, and upon the rescission being confirmed by both houses of Congress, the portion cut from the bill would be applied to the deficit.

The measure passed in a mixed partisan vote, 254 – 173, with 197 Republicans and 57 Democrats voting for it, and 41 Republicans and 132 Democrats against.

January 19, 2012

House Passes Disapproval of President’s Debt Limit Raise

On January 18, 2012, the House passed House Joint Resolution 98, which simply says that Congress disapproves of the President exercising the authority to raise the Federal debt limit from $15.5 trillion to $16.4 trillion. The House had previously, in Senate Bill 365, approved raising the limit by $900 billion, on August 1, 2011, giving the President the authority to do so if needed. At that time, 66 Republican Representatives had voted against the measure.

The vote tally for this Resolution in the House was 239 – 176, with one Republican, David Dreier (CA-26) voting against it, and two voting “present”: Landry (LA-3), and Walsh (IL-8).¬† The latter two had voted against S. 365, while Rep. Dreier voted for S. 365.

January 19, 2012

House Passes Payroll Tax Cut Extension

The House Passed HR 3630, the Temporary Payroll Tax Cut Continuation Act of 2011 on December 17, 2011. The measure provides for the continuation of the 2% payroll tax cut for both self-employed and employees, extends the funding for Unemployment Compensation until March 1, 2012, extends Medicare payments to doctors until March 1, 2012, imposes increased fees for home buyers under Fannie Mae, and gives the President 60 days to make a determination of the permit for the XL Keystone Pipeline from Canada. The CBO estimates the total bill will add $166.8 billion to the national debt for the 2012 fiscal year.

Ten Democrats supported 224 Republicans for the measure, while 14 Republicans opposed the bill on grounds of excessive spending. The final tally was 234 – 193.


January 19, 2012

Senate Rejects Amendment to Balance Highway Trust Fund

An amendment to HR 2887, the bill to extend funds for surface and air transportation programs, would have required that the moneys spent by the Highway Trust Fund in a fiscal year be limited to the revenues raised and appropriated for the Fund within that fiscal year. In sum, it would prohibit the HTF from borrowing money.

The amendment (SA 621) tendered by Senator Rand Paul (KY), garnered only fourteen Republican supporting votes as follows: Burr (NC), Chambliss (GA), Coats (IN), Coburn (OK), Corker (TN), Crapo (ID), DeMint (SC), Johnson (WI), Kyl (AZ), Lee (UT), McCain (AZ), Paul (KY), Risch (ID), and Toomey (PA).

November 30, 2011

Senate Rejects Disapproval of Presidential Debt Limit Raise

The Senate voted 52 – 45 against a companion bill to House Joint Resolution 77, which simply stated a disapproval of the President increasing the Federal Debt Limit. Democratic Senator Ben Nelson of Nebraska voted with 44 Republicans for the measure, while Republican Senators Scott Brown (MA) and Bob Corker (TN) voted with the majority against. Three Senators, Marco Rubio (R-FL), John Rockefeller (D-WV), and Jim Webb (D-VA) were not present for the vote.

October 15, 2011

House Disapproves of Presidential Raise of Debt Limit

H.J. Res. 77 simply reads: Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled, That Congress disapproves of the President’s exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as exercised pursuant to the certification under section 3101A(a) of title 31, United States Code.

Five Republicans, Bilbray (CA-50), Buchanan (FL-13), Dreier (CA-26), Gingrey (GA-11), and Renacci (OH-16) voted against the resolution, and four Democrats voted for it: Altmire (PA-4), Kissel (NC-8), Matheson (UT-2), and McIntyre (NC-7). Additionally, two Republicans, Ribble (WI-8) and Walsh (IL-8) voted “Present”.

October 15, 2011

Budget Control Act of 2011 Passes Senate, Made Law

S. 365, the Budget Control Act of 2011, passed both Houses of Congress and was signed by the President in three days. The bill provides for a number of budgetary issues, mainly the following: it places an upper limit on discretionary spending for the years 2012 – 2021, beginning with $1.043 trillion for 2012, rising to $1.234 trillion in 2021. There are a number of spending exceptions to these limits, among which are highways, defense, and disaster relief. S. 365 also requires both the Senate and the House to vote on passage of a joint resolution proposing a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, authorizes the Treasury to borrow an additional $900 billion above the $14.294 trillion already authorized, and establishes a Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction.

The votes for the bill were mixed in both houses, with 66 Republican House members voting against it, 95 Democrat House members voting for it, and in the Senate, seven Democrats joined 19 Republicans against the measure.

July 20, 2011

Cut, Cap, and Balance Act Passes in House

HR 2560 , the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act was passed by a vote of 234 – 190. The bill has three major portions: 1) it limits total discretionary spending for FY 2012 to $1.016 trillion, exempting Social Security, Medicare, Veterans Benefits, and Interest on National Debt, and limits other direct spending to $680.7 billion. 2) limits all on-budget and off-budget outlays of Federal spending in future years to a percentage of GDP, starting with 21.7% for FY 2013, diminishing to 19.9% by FY 2021. 3) Increases the debt ceiling to $16.7 trillion on the condition that a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution be forwarded to the States for consideration and ratification.

Five Democrats joined 229 Republicans for the measure: Boren (OK-2), Cooper (TN-5), Matheson (UT-2), McIntyre (NC-7), and Shuler (NC-11). Nine Republicans joined 181 Democrats in voting against the bill: Bachmann (MN-6), Broun (GA-10), Canseco (TX-23), DesJarlais (TN-4), Griffith (VA-9), Jones (NC-3), Mack (FL-14), Paul (TX-14), and Rohrabacher (CA-46).

July 16, 2011

Senate Passes Resolution Advocating Higher Taxes for Wealthy

S 1323, a bill to express the sense of the Senate on shared sacrifice in resolving the budget deficit, passed by a vote of 69-27. It states that:

It is the sense of the Senate that any agreement to reduce the budget deficit should require that those earning $1,000,000 or more per year make a more meaningful contribution to the deficit reduction effort.

This non-binding resolution was supported by 18 Republicans: Alexander (TN), Brown (MA), Burr (NC), Coats (IN), Collins (ME), Corker (TN), Cornyn (TX), Graham (SC), Hoeven (ND), Hutchison (TX), Johanns (NE), Kirk (IL), Kyl (AZ), McCain (AZ), McConnell (KY), Sessions (AL), Snowe (ME), and Thune (SD).

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