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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Freshmen Florida lawmakers oppose temporary budget



UPDATE: The budget deal passed 271-158. Among Republicans, 54 voted against it, including Florida Freshman Steve Southerland, Allen West and Dennis Ross. Freshmen voting yes: Sandy Adams, David Rivera, Dan Webster and Rich Nugent.


Scores of newly elected Republicans in the U.S. House, including some from Florida, say they will vote against a three-week deal to keep the government running while the parties try to work out a permanent deal in the face of deep budget cuts. The so-called continuing resolution is up for consideration today in the House and would cut $6 billion while averting a government shutdown.

But some Republicans, particularly new members, are saying enough is enough. They want a longer-term budget in place now.

“For far too long the federal government has kicked the can down the road rather than conquer its addiction to out-of-control spending," said Rep. Steve Southerland, R-Panama City. "As a result, American taxpayers have been served a $14 trillion debt that won’t be made any easier to digest by nibbling around the edges. Congress must have the courage to look beyond the small, short term cuts included in today’s spending resolution and begin to think big."

Rep. Allen West, R-Plantation, has said he's fine if the government shuts down. But after today's vote he said, "My 'No' vote should not be construed as my willingness for a 'government shutdown.'  My  vote is based on a simple principle that we need to complete the federal budget for 2011."

Rep. Dennis Ross, R-Lakeland, also voted no. "It is time the President and Senate leadership understand that they must come to the table with real spending cuts and hammer out an agreement with the House so we can move forward on the 2012 budget.  Neither side will get all that we want, but the American people spoke loud and clear in November that Washington has a spending problem, and it is time to address it.  Tough decisions must be made now, and for my part, I cannot look my kids in the eye and kick their future down the road.”

But Rep. Dan Webster, a freshman from Winter Garden, voted for the deal. A cut is a cut, he said.

"I promised Central Floridians that I would come to Washington to stop the spigot of spending. Any spending cut - like this CR - that comes before the House is a step towards finally turning off the spigot. In the first two months, the House of Representatives passed $100 billion in cuts, voted to slash an additional $5.2 billion in spending, and repealed Obamacare.  A Democrat-controlled Senate continues to provide a serious roadblock to responsible, fact-based budgeting. Stopping the spigot of spending in Washington is a multi-step process and today's vote is a step in that right direction."

Rep. Sandy Adams of Orlando also voted yes. “My vote today gives Congress three weeks to complete last year’s unfinished business. This is more than enough time for leaders in the House and Senate to come to an acceptable level of spending reductions and have it signed into law by President Obama. I strongly support the spending reductions in H.R. 1 to reduce year-over-year federal spending by historic levels, defund the government takeover of health care, stop taxpayer funding of abortion, and I will continue to urge the Senate to take up and pass this important legislation. It’s past time we end these short-term fixes and pass long-term funding so that we can do the work the American people sent us here to accomplish."

In the Senate, Marco Rubio has already said he would vote against the three-week deal.

[Last modified: Tuesday, March 15, 2011 5:18pm]


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