Short-term budget deal shines light on rising national debt
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The short-term spending package the House passed last week set up the next step in what’s likely another tense, partisan budget battle on Capitol Hill. While the deal received a surprising amount of support from Republicans – nearly one-third of the GOP caucus – lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are concerned these stopgap measures are leading to runaway spending.
“There was not one penny of reform in any of that, and I said that’s not fair to all of the people paying for that, the hardworking American taxpayers,” said U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, a Pennsylvania Republican.
Kelly was among the majority of Republicans who voted against the deal, which would keep federal spending levels the same through the extended deadline: November 21st.
But Kelly is not alone. Although nearly all Democrats backed the bill, a deeper dive into the votes shows some fiscally conservative democrats are concerned about the rising national debt, now more than $22 trillion.
“When I left Congress in 2007, it was $9 trillion,” said U.S. Rep. Ed Case (D-Hawaii). “That’s how fast that’s grown in a short amount of time.”
Case belongs to the Blue Dog Coalition, a group of 26 fiscally conservative House Democrats.
While Case and nearly all of the group’s members supported the short-term deal, they’re urging to consider real reforms, before the debt and deficits get any higher. In July, Case, a co-chair of the Blue Dog Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility and Government Reform, released a detailed plan outlining the group’s vision to reduce the national debt.
“We’re out of control in terms of balancing our books,” Case said. “It’s the same basic book-balancing that any family and any individual, any business, needs to be doing.”
“It’s not a good idea for the American people and the taxpayers,” Kelly said. “You have to get reform in there, and that’s not happening.”
Avoiding a stopgap measure would create another government shutdown. For now, this bill now heads to the Senate. The Senate is expected to vote on that spending bill Thursday.