Debt Deal Passes House With 269 Votes

Apparently, Gabby Giffords showed up to cast the vote that put it over the top.

Final was 269-161.

They say it’s going to sail through the Senate, though I’m not so sure. They say there’s going to be a filibuster.

The Left didn’t like it, lots of Tea Party people didn’t like it (though there were a whole lot of Tea Party Republicans who did vote for it).

Longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie hates it.

The deal to raise the debt ceiling is the death of reality in Washington, D.C. Everyone involved in this deal knows that it does not solve the real crisis that the American people want solved – the unsustainable spending, deficits and debt that has created the need to raise the debt ceiling.

The same Wall Street-Washington axis that demanded and benefited from TARP is now demanding that Congress raise the debt ceiling. The Capitol Hill insiders who put this deal together are either so corrupt they no longer care about the truth or the future of our country, or they are so entirely unhinged from reality that they actually think the spending can go on.

Either scenario is a serious problem that only the tea party and constitutional conservative movements have had the sense and courage to challenge, yet are dismissed as “extremists” by the corrupt (or clinically crazy) Washington establishment. The American people will not stand for it and the economy and the taxpayers cannot sustain it.

Tea party and conservative movement activists are opposed to this deal. We demand an end to the business-as-usual spending that brought this crisis about and urge every member of Congress who cares about the future of this great country to vote NO on any deal to raise the debt ceiling and YES to a solution to the spending crisis.

But the Left seems to hate it even more. They REALLY hate it.

“It’s awful,” said Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.). It’s even a “sugar-coated Satan sandwich,” Rep. Emanuel Cleaver said in a tweet that went viral.

“If you had told me that this was the package a month ago, I would’ve asked you what you had been smoking,” said Rep. Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) on Monday. He said most House Democrats would not support the deal, saying the caucus was not “under any obligation” to support this package.

A furious Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) lambasted the package for including solely spending cuts.

“Tax cuts and reductions in spending are not going to create jobs in this country,” he said. “We need some investment [and] there isn’t a penny in this … in fact, the next generation of people who want to become doctors? Oh, sorry. You can’t get student financial aid. Great.”

Rep. Jesse Jackson, Jr. (D-Ill.) said he would oppose the bill, calling it “job-killing austerity.”

Meanwhile, National Review’s Robert Costa has some interesting quotes from some of the freshman stars in the House. Seems like even some of the folks Speaker John Boehner couldn’t bring around on this deal were pretty happy with how he conducted things.

“I’m pretty amazed that he got the deal he got,” says Rep. Paul Ryan (R., Wis.), the Budget Committee chairman.

“We are going to be okay,” says Rep. Allen West (R., Fla.), a tea-party star who supports the deal. He denies that Boehner is in trouble with conservatives. “No, he is not,” West says. “The president is in trouble — the president surrendered.”

Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R., Ill.) admits to being disappointed with the final deal, “to a degree.” Still, he says, conservatives should not be throwing a tantrum. “We fought a fight as hard as we could fight,” he says. “This thing will probably pass today. I am not going to vote for it. But look at how the world has changed.” In that, he says, “I take heart.”

Looking at the big picture, Walsh adds, “this is clearly a win for all these troublesome conservative Republicans who came here to change the world.” Boehner, he notes, retains his popularity behind closed doors. “Everyone in that room loves him,” he says.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R., Utah) confirmed the love-fest. “In fact, I stood up at the end and said, I could not be more proud of how our leadership has handled this,” he says. “Even to those of us who oppose the bill, he has been exceptionally good. I am a bigger supporter of John Boehner now than I’ve ever been.”

“[Boehner] has the capacity to keep a very diverse conference together,” says Rep. Tom Price (R., Ga.), a former Republican Study Committee chairman. Though there are concerns about the deal’s balanced-budget amendment process and defense-spending changes, Price says Boehner took care to address both fronts this afternoon.

How do we come down on this? Well, it’s not a great deal. It’s a bit complicated to go through. It doesn’t really cut the budget – but let’s face it; we all knew that was never going to happen because any real, substantial cuts simply could never get through the Democrats in the Senate or Obama. You want to fix this budget situation, you make Harry Reid the minority leader and Obama an ex-president. Anything short of that and all you can really do is bleed the Democrats white politically to get a deal.

And that’s ultimately what happened here. The GOP bled Obama half to death on this. His approval ratings are in the toilet, and he looks like an ass. For better than a month he’s run his mouth about corporate jets, but there’s no tax increase in this deal. In other words, for all his public talk he didn’t drive this debate or this deal and he looks like he did lead or even engage in producing a solution.

That won’t go unnoticed. They’re talking about giving this guy a primary fight now. The last president to get a primary fight?

Jimmy Carter.

Fred Barnes sums his performance up nicely

1) President Obama can’t negotiate his way out of a paper bag. He yearned for a “grand bargain” of $4 trillion in cuts and tax hikes, giving him something to brag about in the 2012 campaign. He might have gotten it if he hadn’t performed so clumsily once he took over the talks. He took away cuts agreed to by Vice President Biden and insisted on tax increases that couldn’t be offset in tax reform. He made an offer Republicans were bound to refuse.

2) Obama and Democrats don’t want to cut spending. Okay, this isn’t new, just freshly confirmed. They agree to cuts only under extreme duress. On Saturday, House Democrats railed against any cuts in Medicare, Social Security, and Medicaid – or in just about anything else. Instead, they listed the spending programs they like. The president said again last night he wanted a “balanced” deal with tax hikes and cuts “from the beginning.” Not so. At the beginning he wanted a “clean” bill with no cuts at all.

That’s bleeding, brother.

It makes for a wound that might not heal in time for next year’s election. Particularly if the economy continues to suck, which it will because regulation is still off the charts and business is still uncertain about whether that will change and oh-by-the-way we still have the highest corporate tax rate in the civilized world.

And there’s still a threat of a downgrade. Which frankly would absolutely kill Obama’s chances at re-election; not only that, it might just finish off the Democrats as a viable national political party. They’d be the people overseeing the first downgrade of the nation’s bond rating in the history of the country.

But wait, won’t that hurt the Republicans as well? Maybe, but when all the GOP has talked about and fought for is cutting spending, and we get downgraded because they couldn’t beat the Dems down enough to avoid a downgrade, it’s kinda hard for this to be an albatross around the party’s neck.

Mitt Romney, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Ron Paul figured this out, as all four took a big crap on this deal. And rightly so – any of them could point out that if you had a Republican president right now you (1) wouldn’t have spent all the money Obama did and so there wouldn’t be a need to get such a big debt limit increase and (2) wouldn’t have so small a deal on budget cuts – a $4 trillion cut like Moody’s and S&P asked for would have been easy to do (though go back to (1) and there wouldn’t have been the need for such a big cut in the first place). Bachmann and Paul are in Congress, so they’re responsible for their positions and voted accordingly. Perry and Romney? No investment at all. Might as well take a crack at the whole bunch of them.

But you can take it too far. For example, John Huntsman? He blames Romney.

UPDATE: The local folks’ reactions are starting to pour in.

Rep. Rodney Alexander voted yes…

“The amended Budget Control Act of 2011 is not the perfect solution to our nation’s spending-driven debt crisis; however, it accomplishes what House Republicans have been working for since day one. It cuts spending by a larger amount than we raise the debt limit; it caps future spending to limit government growth without instituting  tax hikes; and, it guarantees the American people will get a recorded vote in the House and Senate on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution.

“Through the stalwart leadership of conservative members of the House, our country will avoid an economically disastrous default and immediately begin to reduce its deficit by epic proportions—all of which will be accomplished without taxes going up one cent.

“If President Obama and the Democrat-controlled Senate had their way, the debt ceiling would have been raised without any spending cuts, and tax hikes would have been implemented on the American people. Instead of forcing individuals to pay more so the government could spend more, my conservative colleagues and I stood firmly against the same misguided spending policies that got us into this fiscal mess in the first place.

“As a representative of the ninth poorest congressional district in the nation, it is my duty to ensure our seniors and most vulnerable citizens are secure. Meanwhile, the magnitude of what is at stake for our small businesses if a debt agreement is not signed into law is equally apparent. At the end of the day though, neither the free market system nor our federal assistance programs will exist for future generations if we don’t stop spending money we don’t have. The decision to back this particular framework was not an easy one, but I believe my affirmative vote was in the best interest of those I serve.

“In addition to the $1 trillion instantly cut, a special joint committee will be created to slash another $1.5 trillion in order to reduce the deficit even further. What’s more is that under this legislation both chambers will be required to vote on a desperately-needed balanced budget amendment. And to reiterate, this bill does not include a single tax increase.

“When all is said and done, this essentially means Washington cannot continue funneling funds into failed, unnecessary or wasteful programs. This is money that will remain in the American people’s pockets that they can use for their benefit and not the government’s irresponsible spending habits. Washington’s blank check has finally been voided and shredded.”

Rep. Bill Cassidy was also a yes vote, though with a lot less to say about it…

“Tonight, Congress cut spending more than it raised the debt limit without raising taxes. The Budget Control Act requires, at a minimum, an additional $1.2 trillion in spending cuts. It prevents default and keeps the president from not paying our troops, Social Security beneficiaries and Medicare providers. As the American people continue to care about the debt, I am confident this will be one of many steps to address our fiscal future.”

And Rep. Charles Boustany was a yes vote, too…

“From day one, I insisted any increase in the debt ceiling must be coupled with spending cuts exceeding the increase in the debt limit.  For the third time in as many weeks, the House of Representatives voted responsibly to protect the economy.  We approved legislation cutting spending to force Washington to protect and conserve taxpayer dollars.  My vote tonight was the right thing to do for the people of Louisiana and for America,” Boustany said.

“This legislation upholds the Republican principles we demanded – no tax increases, cuts greater than the increase in the debt limit, and advancing the balanced budget amendment.  It creates the foundation to bring our economy back from the brink, protects the full faith and credit of the United States, and is the first substantive step in correcting this nation’s out-of-control spending. After thoroughly reviewing this legislation and speaking with experts, economists, and residents from across Southwest Louisiana, I feel this is our best path forward. I will continue working closely with my colleagues in Congress to ensure that we continue on a path to getting our fiscal house in order.”

But Jeff Landry – who worked his butt off to get that Balanced Budget Amendment put into the last House bill, only to see it downgraded to a condition, and not a binding one, in this bill, wasn’t so sanguine…

“I’m sure by Washington standards, today’s deal is a great accomplishment; but by American standards, it comes up short. Throughout this debate, the American people have demanded a real cure to America’s spending addiction – a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Unfortunately, today’s Washington deal transforms last week’s strong Balanced Budget requirement into a toothless suggestion. And today’s Washington deal puts at risk the security and pay of our brave men and women in uniform. It’s disheartening that Washington continues skirting the problem, instead of passing long-term solutions to end it. As evident by my decision today, I stand with the American people and choose to put the next generation above my next election.”

Landry was a no.

Seems like we now have a high-profile campaign issue for next fall between Landry and Boustany.

UPDATE #2: Rep. John Fleming was a no vote as well…

“I applaud Speaker Boehner’s perseverance and am glad we are on a path to averting a national default.  The Speaker went toe-to-toe with the Obama Administration and the Democract-controlled Senate, and ultimately ensured job-killing tax hikes were not part of the final deal which matches every dollar of debt limit increase by more than a dollar of real spending cuts. Ultimately though, I can not in good conscience support the largest debt ceiling increase in our nation’s history, which will only enable our insatiable thirst for deficit spending to continue, albeit at a slower pace.  For the future of our country, our kids and grandkids, there comes a point where we have to say ‘enough is enough.’ As a nation drowning in over $14 trillion in debt – and growing – I think most Americans agree that we reached that point long ago,” said Congressman Fleming.

Congressman Fleming added, “Besides severely undermining our national defense with unprecedented cuts at a time of growing global insecurity, this plan fails to confront the grave fiscal challenges that threaten the survival of Medicare and Social Security, instead kicking the can of entitlement reform down the road – yet again.  Most importantly though, without a guaranteed path for the enactment of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, this plan falls short in ensuring the proposed reductions will actually take effect.  The halls of Congress are littered with dozens of well intentioned plans that promised grand reforms only to be revoked or ignored by politicians unwilling to follow though with hard choices.”



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