Senate Passes Debt Deal, 74--26

by Andrew Stiles

With observations galleries packed and reporters crammed together outside the Senate chambers, senators approved a final deal to raise the debt ceiling Tuesday, sending the bill to the president to sign. The measure passed with strong bipartisan support, by a final vote of 74 to 26. Nineteen Republicans voted against the bill, along with six Democrats and one Independent (Bernie Sanders). The bill passed the House on Monday by a vote of 269 to 161. Indeed, a far greater percentage of Republicans opposed the bill in the Senate than did in the House.

Republicans NO votes: Kelly Ayotte, Dan Coats, Saxby Chambliss, Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint, Lindsey Graham, Chuck Grassley, Orrin Hatch, James Inhofe, Ron Johnson, Dean Heller, Mike Lee, Jerry Moran, Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby, Pat Toomey, and David Vitter.

Interestingly, two GOP members of the Gang of Six (Chambliss and Coburn) voted against the bill because it did not go far enough to address the country’s debt and deficit problems. “I voted against this agreement because it does nothing to address the real drivers of our debt,” Coburn wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. “It eliminates no program, consolidates no duplicative programs, cuts no tax earmarks and reforms no entitlement program. The specter of default or a credit downgrade will still hang over our economy after this deal becomes law.”

Democrats NO votes: Kirsten Gillibrand, Tom Harkin, Frank Lautenberg, Bob Menendez, Jeff Merkley, Ben Nelson, and Bernie Sanders (I).

“I cannot in good conscience support a plan where soldiers, seniors, students, and working families must endure trillions in cuts while oil companies, billionaires, and corporate jet owners are not asked to pay one cent toward shared sacrifice,” said Menendez, reminding us that we will be having this very same argument all over again almost as soon as congressional leaders select their appointees to the newly created special committee or “super-Congress.”