Black votes against reopening government

Jared Felkins • Updated Oct 17, 2013 at 12:46 PM

U.S. Rep. Diane Black was one of 144 House Republicans who voted against a bill to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling Wednesday night.

“I came to Washington to make tough choices and help solve our nation’s most pressing fiscal issues,” said Black, who represents Wilson County in Congress. “Unfortunately, the bill that came before the House tonight would give the President a blank check to continue Washington’s reckless spending. I have fought hard to keep the government open and am glad that this bill preserves sequester level spending cuts; however, I cannot support a plan to increase our nation’s debt ceiling that ignores the drivers of our out of control debt and deficits.

“Furthermore, to continue on this dangerous trajectory, Harry Reid used a procedural gimmick to strip the content of my important House passed legislation, the No Subsidies Without Verification Act. This bill would have protected taxpayers by preventing any Obamacare subsidies from being doled out until there is an independently verified system in place to ensure there are no fraudulent payments. I think it is outrageous that my commonsense bill was not given proper consideration before the full Senate and was instead used in yet another Washington shell game.”

“I will continue to fight in Congress against the president’s disastrous health care law and to rein in out of control spending. With a $17 trillion debt, it is long past time that lawmakers come to the table and address our looming fiscal crisis in order to preserve the security of our nation for future generations.”

Democrat Rep. Jim Cooper, who represents the nearby 5th District, had a different take on the vote.

"On day one of the government shutdown, we joined together not as Democrats, not as Republicans, but as Americans deeply committed to resolving this impasse and avoiding a self-inflicted economic wound that would devastate families across the country,” Cooper said. “As it became clear that partisanship – and not problem solving – would dominate the discussion in Washington, we were joined by pragmatic, like-minded leaders on both sides of the aisle. In informal talks, we were able to put our differences aside and develop a potential solution.

“We applaud our Senate colleagues for working together to come up with a solution. Now it is time for Congress to act to get the government open and avoid further roiling the markets. We look forward to continuing our bipartisan discussions with the goal of putting forth a long-term deficit reduction agreement to get our fiscal house in order and finding other areas of cooperation."

Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Sen. Bob Corker, Tennessee’s delegates in the U.S. Senate, voted for the bill that passed 81-18 Wednesday night.

 “I voted in September against shutting down the government, and today I voted to reopen it and to make sure that the United States pays its bills on time,” Alexander said. “We need to redouble our efforts to fix our country’s $16.7 trillion federal debt. We could start by passing the Corker-Alexander plan to reduce out-of-control entitlement spending by $1 trillion over the next 10 years.”

Alexander and Corker introduced in February the Fiscal Sustainability Act, which both said would reduce the growth in entitlement spending by $1 trillion over 10 years and help make entitlement programs, including Medicare, solvent.

“It is beyond belief that Congress chose to pursue an effort that had no chance of success and wasted time that could have been spent putting in place spending reforms that will make our country stronger,” Corker said. “But I do consider it a victory that we forced adherence to the Budget Control Act spending restraints, which for the first time since the 1950s, have caused us to reduce total government spending for two consecutive years. There’s much more work to do to get on a path to fiscal solvency, and I look forward to continuing that important work.”

Corker said the Budget Control Act, passed by Congress and signed into law in 2011, helped reduce total government spending for two consecutive years. It will cause non-emergency discretionary spending to be decreased from $1.09 trillion in 2011 to $967 billion this year. 

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