WASHINGTON — The U.S. House this afternoon passed a measure to put off hitting the nation’s borrowing limit until May 18. More background from today’s paper is here.
Most of Georgia’s delegation supported the proposal — which also withholds senators’ paychecks after April 15 if they do not pass a budget — with the following members voting no (full results here): Democrats John Barrow of Augusta and Hank Johnson of DeKalb County; Republicans Paul Broun of Athens, Doug Collins of Gainesville and Phil Gingrey of Marietta.
Gingrey’s position on the matter has shifted in the last couple of days. At the Georgia Society gala in Washington on Sunday night, he told the AJC, “I think it’s a good plan,” and described the wisdom in his eyes of “resequencing” fiscal fights – putting March’s across-the-board “sequester” cuts and expiration of federal funding for the year ahead of the debt ceiling deadline. He added, in reference to the no-budget-no-pay part of the bill: “You absolutely force the Senate after four years to come up with a budget resolution. I think it is a great thing. That’s the only way you can get back to fiscal sanity. So I’m real pleased with that.”
But by this morning, Gingrey’s tune has changed. Via a spokeswoman, he offered this:
“Holding Senate Democrats’ feet to the fire by insisting they pass a budget at the risk of losing their pay is a good idea. However, while it is a step in the right direction, it does not address the root of the problem. I cannot support legislation to increase the debt ceiling that does not address spending, adds to the federal deficit, and fails to limit the amount of money President Obama may borrow. While I’m optimistic that Republicans’ long-term goal of balancing the budget can be reached, we must take every opportunity in the meantime to drastically reduce runaway government spending.”
Republican Rep. Tom Graves of Ranger was a somewhat surprising “yes” on the bill, and the subsequent statement released by his office doesn’t mention the debt ceiling at all:
“I am committed to balancing the budget and forcing the government to operate within its means. We cannot allow Washington to continue dragging down our economy and sidelining jobs that our communities need.
“The first step in that process is forcing the Senate to follow the law and pass a budget, which they have failed to do for almost four years. In the House, we will again put forward a bold vision for the country, which will include tax, spending and entitlement reform. Our goal is to balance the budget in ten years.
“If the Senate again fails to pass a budget, they will have their pay withheld. No budget, no pay. The American people expect and deserve that kind of accountability.”
- By Daniel Malloy, Political Insider