Political News

How NC voted for the debt ceiling bill

Posted August 2, 2011 8:18 a.m. EDT
Updated August 2, 2011 2:10 p.m. EDT

— A look at how North Carolina's Congressional delegation voted on a bipartisan compromise to increase the U.S.'s borrowing limit.

In part, the plan raises the nation's borrowing limit into 2013 in exchange for more than $2 trillion in cuts from federal spending over a decade.

It also calls for a special bipartisan committee to find up to $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts. A failure to agree would mean automatic cuts across much of the federal budget, including defense, Social Security and Medicaid.

U.S. Senate

The Senate passed the measure on Aug. 2 in a 74-26 vote. North Carolina's Democratic Sen. Kay Hagan and Republican Sen. Richard Burr voted in favor of the bill.

In a statement, Hagan said:

"We have wasted too much time in Washington posturing and bickering when we need to put partisanship aside to get our economy back on track for the hundreds of thousands of North Carolinians still out of work. ... Though I would have preferred a bigger deal - balanced along the lines of the one outlined by the bipartisan deficit reduction commission chaired by North Carolina's Erskine Bowles and Senator Alan Simpson - this agreement is a good start."

Reaction from Burr was not immediately available Tuesday, but in a statement Monday night he said:

"This common-sense, but long overdue, action was absolutely vital to stop the practice of ‘spend and borrow’ that has been commonplace for so long in Washington. By passing this proposal, a strong precedent was set that any increase in the debt must be accompanied by equal cuts in spending, and through this debate we have shifted the focus from spending to actual cuts in spending. … This debate has changed the way Washington and all Americans view our national debt and our out-of-control spending problem, and while it does not go far enough to address the issue of our budget process, it takes a big step towards putting our nation on track to fiscal responsibility."

U.S. House of Representatives

The House passed the measure on Aug. 1 in a 269-161 vote. Seven North Carolina House members voted against the bill; six voted for it.

Voting against the bill were:

  • Rep. G.K. Butterfield, D-District 1
  • Rep. Walter Jones, R-District 3
  • Rep. David Price, D-District 4
  • Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-District 7
  • Rep. Larry Kissell, D-District 8
  • Rep. Melvin Watts, D-District 12
  • Rep. Brad Miller, D- District 13

Voting for the bill were:

  • Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-District 2
  • Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-District 5
  • Rep. Howard Coble, R-District 6
  • Rep. Sue Myrick, R- District 9
  • Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-District 10
  • Rep. Heath Shuler, D-District 11

What House lawmakers are saying

Rep. Howard Coble, R-District 6 :

"I voted for the bill, because it cuts government spending at a greater amount than it increases the debt ceiling. We did that without raising taxes, without harming Social Security and Medicare, while at the same time, putting us on the path to enact a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution. “

“I think this bill is going to streamline the process for us to get to a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution … I hope that we will be sending a constitutional amendment to the various states soon. It is the only sure-fire way to make the federal government spend no more than it collects.”

Rep. Renee Ellmers, R-District 2:

"Increasing the debt ceiling is not because we're looking for new spending in the future. It's because there's been so much spending in the past, that now, that credit card bill is coming due and we have to be able to pay for it so we don't go into a default situation. It's been a hard lesson to learn, but it's one we knew we were going to have to make, and I was ready to do it for the good of America."

"This deal, while not perfect, is a fiscally sound solution to put an end to this spending-driven debt crisis and is only the beginning of a long term battle on government spending to protect our families and their future."

Rep. Patrick McHenry, R-District 10:

"If this debt limit debate has accomplished one thing, it has changed the conversation in Washington. Today’s debt deal represents an absolute repudiation of President Obama’s tax and spend policies. Throughout this debate, the President has pushed for a ‘clean’ debt limit increase, and then for tax increases to accompany any spending cuts. He received none of these. Instead, we’ve achieved spending cuts that exceed the debt limit increase – without raising taxes. This plan is a meaningful first step towards fixing Washington’s spending addiction and putting us on a path towards a balanced budget.”

Rep. Mike McIntyre, D-District 7:

"This bill does not meet the necessary tests to protect our financial security, our national security, and our personal security.

"By raising the debt ceiling once again, we are extending our nation's credit card for additional debt and continuing the spending binge that we must stop. We must rein in government spending."

Rep. Brad Miller, D-District 13:

"We could not let the nation default, but I certainly don't want to vote for cuts without even knowing where the cuts will come from at a time when the cuts might well push our fragile economy back into recession.

"I also hated to see tactics rewarded that were an embarrassment to our democracy.”

Rep. David Price, D-District 4:

"Make no mistake, this is a manufactured crisis. Republicans have held our nation's economy hostage to narrow and extreme ideological agenda, demanding a ransom of devastating cuts to critical domestic programs while protecting tax breaks for oil companies and other special interests. No matter that Social Security benefits, military pay, and the credit rating of our country have all been hanging in the balance – apparently, economic calamity is a small price to pay for ideological purity."

Rep. Brad Miller, D-District 13:

“Allowing our nation to default on its obligations and jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the United States should never have been even remotely possible. … Today, at the eleventh hour, we were presented a path forward that ensures America continues to meet its obligations. This path is not the best possible path, but it does move us in the right direction, and to govern is to compromise. I am hopeful that the new Joint Committee will reflect the values of the majority of the American people, not just the partisans on both extremes."