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Florida senators' debt votes reflect Washington divide

WASHINGTON — Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson cast it as a grand compromise. Republican Sen. Marco Rubio called it a bad deal.

And so the Florida votes reflected the divided tone of Washington over the debt ceiling package, which got final approval by the Senate on Tuesday and was quickly signed by President Barack Obama.

"I wanted to come up here and be part of the solution, not just part of cutting deals," Rubio said, noting that earlier this year he called for a plan that tackled tax reform, discretionary spending, changes to shore up Social Security and Medicare, and a balanced-budget amendment.

Some of Rubio's GOP colleagues said they wanted more, too, but that it was a significant step. Rubio agreed the Republicans, with tea party pressure, changed the debate to deep cuts.

"But I still think the enormity of the problem is unresolved," he said. "Very soon, if we don't do something, we're going to have a debt crisis in this country that will make this one look like child's play."

Nelson, who is up for re-election in 2012, took to the Senate floor before the vote to praise the compromise.

Like many Democrats, he said he was hopeful that a 12-member Super Committee charged with coming up with $1.5 trillion in additional savings will find a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases.

"If we can get out of our ideological rigidity and out of our momentary excessive partisanship," Nelson said, "then as the Good Book says, 'Let us reason together.' And I think that's what we've done."

Florida senators' debt votes reflect Washington divide 08/02/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 3, 2011 6:30am]
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