Wednesday, July 20, 2011

House Approves "Cut, Cap, and Balance Act"

Rep. Michele Bachmann

The House on Tuesday approved the "Cut, Cap and Balance Act", a bill that would require that any move to raise the country’s debt ceiling be accompanied by sweeping spending cuts, statutory caps on spending as a share of GDP and congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment.
The largely symbolic measure, which passed the House, 234 to 190, has little chance of passing the Democratic-controlled Senate.

Here’s a closer look at how Tuesday night’s vote broke down:

229: The number of Republicans voting “yes” on the measure.

Nine: The number of Republicans voting against the measure. They were Republican Reps. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), Paul Broun (Ga.), Quico Canseco (Texas), Scott DesJarlais (Tenn.), Morgan Griffith (Va.), Walter Jones (N.C.), Connie Mack (Fla.), Ron Paul (Texas) and Dana Rohrabacher (Calif.).

Of the nine, four members – Bachmann, Broun, Mack and Paul – have signed the "cut, cap and balance" pledge, which promises to oppose any debt limit increase unless all three of the following conditions have been met:
  1. Cut - Substantial cuts in spending that will reduce the deficit next year and thereafter.
  2. Cap - Enforceable spending caps that will put federal spending on a path to a balanced budget.
  3. Balance - Congressional passage of a Balanced Budget Amendment to the U.S. Constitution -- but only if it includes both a spending limitation and a super-majority for raising taxes, in addition to balancing revenues and expenses. 
Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) is on the record saying that he would not vote to raise the debt ceiling unless "we have major cuts in the size and scope of the federal government." He went on to define this as abolishing the Department of Education and the Department of Energy.

181: The number of Democrats who voted “no” on the measure.

Five: The number of Democrats who joined most Republicans in supporting the bill. They were Democratic Reps. Dan Boren (Okla.), Jim Cooper (Tenn.), Jim Matheson (Utah), Mike McIntyre (N.C.) and Heath Shuler (N.C.).
All five are members of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition.

Eight: The number of members who did not vote Tuesday; seven Democrats and one Republican were not present.

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.”
Source: Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez
              ABC News, The Note Blog
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