House Passes Cut, Cap and Balance; Faces Stiff Opposition in Senate

By John R Parkinson

Jul 19, 2011 9:12pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson (@JRPabcDC) reports:

The House of Representatives passed Cut Cap and Balance act Tuesday night by a vote of 234-190 in a vote divided largely down partisan lines, although the bill is unlikely to advance any farther in the legislative process.

The bill would cut total spending by $111 billion in FY 2012 and caps total federal spending by creating a “glide path” that limits spending at 22.5 percent of GDP next year and gradually decreases spending  levels over 10 years levels until locking in at 19.9 percent of GDP in 2021.

Finally, the legislation would require that Congress pass a Balanced Budget Amendment and it would need to be sent to the states for ratification before the president’s request for a $2.4 trillion debt limit increase is granted.

House Speaker John Boehner praised the House for passing the legislation, which he noted will “stop the Washington spending binge and rein in the deficits that are hurting job growth.”

“Americans are still asking, ‘where are the jobs?’  And while President Obama simply talks tough about cutting spending, House Republicans are taking action. ‘Cut, Cap, and Balance’ is exactly the kind of ‘balanced’ approach the White House has asked for,” Boehner said in a statement following the bill’s passage. “It provides President Obama with the debt limit increase he’s requested while making real spending cuts now and restraining future government spending and debt that are hurting job growth.”

Boehner called on President Obama to abandon his veto threat, and urged Senate Democrats to reconsider their opposition and pass the Cut, Cap, and Balance [CCB] plan.

“House Republicans are the only ones to put forward and pass a real plan that will create a better environment for private-sector job growth by stopping Washington from spending money it doesn’t have and preventing tax hikes on families and small businesses.  The White House hasn’t said what it will cut, and Senate Democrats haven’t passed a budget in more than two years.” 

Democrats were nearly unanimous in their opposition to the bill, although Reps. Dan Boren, Jim Cooper, Jim Matheson, Mike McIntyre and Heath Shuler all joined the Republicans in supporting the measure.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that CCB “is the Republican budget that was voted on earlier this year all over again.”

“Rather than making progress on the debt limit to prevent these widespread consequences for America’s middle class, this legislation takes us backward, throwing up further roadblocks to increasing the debt limit,” Pelosi, D-Calif., said on the House floor. “It ends Medicare, making seniors pay more while giving tax breaks to Big Oil and corporations sending jobs overseas.  Furthermore, economists believe that the result of this legislation will be the result of, the loss of 700,000 jobs.  This legislation harms the middle class families.” 

President Obama also threatened to veto the legislation if by some chance it were to pass in the Senate.

Back in the House, nine Republicans, including presidential hopefuls Reps. Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul, voted against the measure.

Bachmann, R-Minnesota, explained her opposition to the bill during a floor speech leading into the vote,

“While I embrace the principles of Cut, Cap and Balance, the motion does not go far enough in fundamentally restructuring the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars. The principles found in this bill are a step in the right direction toward the fundamental restructuring we need in the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars,” Bachmann said. “We can meet our obligations, keep our bond rating and keep our promises, but we have to make the tough choices now to turn our economy around and put Americans back to work.”

Paul said the measure did not make substantial enough cuts to win his support and said that similar promises to cut future spending have often gone unfulfilled.

“For decades, politicians have promised future restraint in exchange for hikes in the debt limit.  Each time, it’s said that if we act immediately to avoid a crisis, we will give the matter proper debate at the next vote.  But, time and again, politicians reveal themselves to be untrustworthy.  Promises of cuts remain unfulfilled, and we soon find ourselves once more in a crisis that we are told can only be addressed by upholding the status quo yet again,” Paul, R-Texas, said. “I have never voted to raise the federal debt limit, and I have no doubt that we face financial collapse and ruin if we continue to grow our debt.  We need to make major spending cuts now, in this budget, and we can no longer afford to allow more deficit spending based on promises of future cuts.”

The other Republicans joining Bachmann and Paul in voting against the legislation were Reps. Paul Broun, Francisco Canseco, Scott DesJarlais, Morgan Griffith, Walter Jones, Connie Mack, and Dana Rohrabacher.

The bill now heads to the Senate where it faces stiff opposition from the Democratic majority and is unlikely to pass.

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