Delegation' Vote Was Divided on Debt Deal - NBC Connecticut

Delegation' Vote Was Divided on Debt Deal

Those opposed said it would hurt seniors and students.



    Delegation' Vote Was Divided on Debt Deal
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    The U.S. Capitol building is illuminated on July 31, 2011 in Washington, DC. U.S. President Barack Obama announced that congressional leaders had reached a tentative agreement to extend the federal debt limit while enacting spending cuts.

    The House and the Senate have passed the national debt deal and it's headed to President Barack Obama, but Connecticut's Congressional delegation was divided in the vote.

    U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney and Jim Himes voted yes, while U.S. Reps. John Larson, Rosa DeLauro and Chris Murphy voted no. Senators Joe Lieberman and Richard Blumenthal voted yes on Tuesday.

    "I’m supporting the debt ceiling compromise proposal because its positives outweigh its negatives," Lieberman tweeted.

    Blumenthal said the deal is not perfect, but it's a good first step.

    Some of the officials said the bill leaves many unanswered questions about Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

    Lieberman said he will be sending a Medicare reform proposal to the joint selection committee for consideration.

    Himes called the passage of the deal a first step in cutting the deficit, but hardly a complete solution.

    "Compromise is never pretty and this bill is no cause for celebration," he said. “The cuts in this bill will be painful, but the bill protects critical programs that support education and our neediest citizens. … In the coming months I expect that the President, the Congress, and the committee mandated by this bill will work for a more balanced, equitable, and comprehensive solution.”

    Courtney said that this was the only “viable path to avoiding economic catastrophe.”

    “Like the Reid plan I voted for on Saturday, the compromise protects seniors by prohibiting automatic cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare beneficiaries, cuts which I have consistently opposed. It also provides long-term peace of mind to families and financial markets by ensuring that we are not engaged in this divisive, unnecessary debate just six months from now,” he said.

    Larson said he's glad the nation will not default if the deal passes the Senate, but he was concerned about what the bill would mean for constituents.

    "I cannot explain in good conscious to seniors, to students and to working families, why it is that the bond sellers always get paid while they -- the heart of our nation -- continue to be squeezed," Larson said.

    Murphy called this a “manufactured crisis,” and said this bill isn't a compromise.

    “It places almost the entire burden of deficit reduction on Medicare beneficiaries, middle class families, and the poor. Not one corporate tax loophole is closed,” he said. “ Not one billionaire will pay a cent more in taxes. But seniors will lose Medicare providers, and programs for the poor and disabled will be slashed. That's not what my constituents believe is a compromise.”

    DeLauro said she supported a “more responsible version of the agreement raising the debt ceiling,” but could not support this one.

    “Without assurances that Congress will pursue a balanced approach, the additional cuts called for in a few short months as part of the agreement will threaten the promises made to generations of hard-working Americans by ending Medicare as we know it, cutting Medicaid, and compromising the future of Social Security,” she said. “I could not in good conscience support such an unbalanced approach that places the burden of deficit reduction on the backs of middle class families and our seniors while further weakening our shaky economy.”

    The concern on the state level is about the nearly $2.5 trillion in spending cuts and whether those cuts will lead to costs that the states will have to pick up.

    “All in all, I think given the circumstances, this is about as good as it could get,” Malloy said.

    Now we wait for the vote goes on to the Senate, where the deal is expected to pass, then on the President Barack Obama.