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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Florida mixed bag as U.S. House approves debt-ceiling deal



The U.S. House of Representatives just approved the debt-ceiling bill, capping weeks of drama and ensuring likely final passage in the Senate tomorrow. (Story here)

Florida Republicans voting no: Connie Mack, Bill Posey, Dennis Ross, Steve Southerland, Cliff Stearns. / Florida Democrats voting no: Corrine Brown, Alcee Hastings.

Said Hastings: “This so-called ‘compromise’ is nothing more than a reckless sell-out to the ideological extremes of the Republican Party, a party that is utterly dominated by a Tea Party dogma that cares more to preserve tax cuts for the rich than to be about the business of ensuring the well-being of our entire society."

More reaction below.

NO -- Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland: "Without a balanced budget amendment in place, this deal, as with dozens of others, will barely last through this election, let alone ten years," Ross said in a statement. "My kids and grandkids cannot afford trillions more in debt and I was not sent here to heel like a good puppy when the President or the Treasury Secretary says so.  I was sent here to do what is right for my constituents and the nation, even if that makes me unpopular or costs me my seat."

YES -- Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta: “At the beginning of this debate, I said my goal was to prevent a default while cutting spending significantly and enacting serious reforms to change the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars.  While I’d like this bill to go further, it meets these core principles.  This legislation cuts spending by a larger amount than it raises the debt limit, caps spending to limit the growth of government, protects Americans from job-destroying taxes, and guarantees the American people a vote on a balanced budget amendment."

YES -- Rep. Dan Webster, R-Winter Garden: “The Budget Control Act is a collaborative initiative to protect our fragile economy and create jobs while taking serious action to reduce the debt. We have the opportunity today to begin transforming the spending process in Washington by advancing a balanced budget amendment and implementing immediate cuts and future spending caps."

NO -- Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City: “Long before I came to Congress, I made a commitment to the people of North and Northwest Florida that I’d reject any debt limit increase that fails to address the tremendous economic challenges facing America today.  I voted against this debt limit compromise because it falls short of conquering our debt crisis and does little to change the culture in Washington."

YES -- Rep. Vern Buchanan, R-Sarasota: “The good news is the House has acted to avoid the first default in history and taken modest steps toward restoring fiscal responsibility to Washington,” said Buchanan.  “The bad news is we are barely putting a dent in a decade’s worth of reckless spending and we have diminished, at least temporarily, our credibility in the eyes of America and the world.  So while this deal is a positive step, let’s not break out the champagne for doing something we should have done long before now in a far less acrimonious manner.”

NO -- Rep. Bill Posey, R-Rockledge: “The last minute bill put forward today does not achieve this goal. Regardless of its enactment, the U.S. will still be at serious risk of losing its AAA credit rating. To date, the only plan introduced that passes muster for the credit rating agencies is the Cut, Cap and Balance legislation which passed the House with bipartisan support last week and is purposefully being blocked in the Senate.

YES -- Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa: “Medicare, Social Security and Pell grants are protected in the bipartisan compromise. Our great nation avoids default and we reduce the debt. Despite the efforts of tea party extremists to put the economy at risk and dismantle America’s fundamental promise of Medicare, reasonable members of both parties came together to avoid a default and reduce the deficit."

YES -- Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami: “Although the deal is tough medicine to swallow, I believe it’s necessary. This bipartisan deal will remove the cloud of uncertainty hanging over our economy, reduce the deficit with significant savings from the defense budget, and set the stage for a more balanced plan. I remain committed to protecting Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security.”

YES -- Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Jacksonville: “There is more work ahead, but I stand strong with American families and businesses who have been making tough economic decisions all along. They’ve worked hard to balance their budgets. They see no reason why Congress can’t do the same and neither do I. This is a good start.”

YES -- Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation: "A year ago no one would have thought it was possible that the dominant conversation within the United States Congress would be about cutting spending. For the first time in American history tonight, the United States House of Representatives raised the debt ceiling with equal to or exceeding spending cuts.  It is imperative now that we alleviate the anxiety of the American people and our capital markets and instill a sense of confidence and certainty regarding our fiscal policy. This will assuredly lead to long term sustainable economic growth and American jobs.

YES -- Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami: "While today’s vote is certainly no solution to our nation’s debt problem,it lays the foundation to mve fowrd with real reforms and solutions."

YES -- Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Orlando: “While this bill is not perfect – certainly not the bill I would have written myself – it makes tangible changes to the way Washington works, while keeping House Republicans in the driver’s seat.  For the first time in my life, the federal government will spend less money next year than we spent last year.   Over the past seven months, the conversation in Washington has dramatically shifted from how much money the government was going to spend, to how much we are going to cut.

YES -- Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Boca Raton. "Throughout this debate, I have fought for balance, shared sacrifice, and compromise. My Republican colleagues repeatedly rejected these ideals.  I share my constituents’ dismay over the tea party’s willingness to use the threat of economic catastrophe to ram through Congress a plan to destroy Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. Today’s compromise blocked their efforts by protecting the hard-earned benefits of the American people.

YES -- Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Miami: Although I have deep reservations on the potential reduction for future defense funding, this legislation does avert the U.S. from defaulting, it cuts and caps spending, and continues to advance the efforts of a Balanced Budget Amendment – all without raising taxes. While these measures are significant, accomplishing real spending cuts, the biggest victory is the fact that House Republicans have shifted Washington’s mentality from ‘how much can we spend’ to ‘how much can we cut.’ As we move past this, I look forward to focusing on job creation by fueling American employers with confidence so they may reinvest and hire.”

Rep. Cliff Stearns, R-Ocala: "This measure also makes it easier for the President to increase the debt limit in the future. In addition, the language for a balanced budget amendment is less precise and only requires a vote in the House and Senate instead of its actual passage by both that would result in it being sent to the states for ratification. Another concern was that this final plan sets discretionary spending for fiscal year 2012 at $24 billion higher than in the Ryan Budget Resolution, which I supported.”

[Last modified: Tuesday, August 2, 2011 11:10am]


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