Updated: Senate Candidates Take a Stand on Debt Deal
Congress is set to vote on a deal that would raise the federal debt ceiling to avoid an unprecedented default. They may not be in Washington now, but we asked several U.S. Senate candidates to weigh in on how they'd vote on the plan if they were.
Updated 12 p.m. CST: Glenn Addison, a Texas businessman and another candidate in the running for Hutchison's soon-to-be-vacant U.S. Senate seat, announced he would have voted against the debt ceiling proposal that the Senate just passed. Addison said "production of smoke and mirrors is no doubt booming in D.C."
Addison said this about the plan: "Cuts will not be pleasant for those who are too lazy to work unless they find a perfect job. The mentality of millions of slothful Americans must change to recognize they have got to become productive and those of us who are "producers" must be one of resolve to stand our ground and preserve government assistance for those who are truly unable to care for themselves."
With U.S. Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison and the rest of Congress set to vote on a deal that would raise the nation's debt ceiling and avoid an unprecedented federal default, we asked those running to replace her how they would vote on the bill, which is expected to pass but has left partisans largely dissatisfied.
Dewhurst, the lieutenant governor, said in a statement that he opposes the plan. "The federal budget needs to be cut immediately at an amount for greater than this compromise," he said. Considered the front-runner for Hutchison's seat, Dewhurst criticized the proposal's plan to create a commission to handle deficit reduction. "Commissions don't solve problems, leaders do," he said. "Washington’s addiction to spending must end. The federal budget needs to be cut immediately at an amount far greater than this compromise, future spending must be capped, and a Balanced Budget Amendment passed."
Dewhurst concluded his statement by citing Texas' job growth, saying he would use his "proven Texas conservative values and experience to fight Obama's spending addiction."
Elizabeth Ames Jones
Jones, a railroad commissioner, supports the deal, which she said in a statement cuts spending in the face of an "irresponsible and catastrophic" default.
Jones blamed both parties' behavior over the years for the need to raise the debt ceiling but said she supports a "deal that employs significant spending cuts and budget controls to rein in out of control spending and debt while at the same time avoiding an irresponsible and catastrophic default."
Jones said she hopes the conservatives who put pressure on President Obama and Congress will keep working to cut spending and balance the budget without raising taxes.
The former Dallas mayor came out against the bill, saying he would only support the Republican-backed "Cut, Cap and Balance" plan. Leppert in a statement called the current plan "fundamentally flawed" and said it does little to address the long-term problems facing the nation.
"The proposed plan calls for no major entitlement reform and only a vote on a much-needed Balanced Budget Amendment," Leppert said, "while it simultaneously leaves the door open for tax hikes, potentially brings excessive cuts in defense spending if Congress fails to do its job by the end of the year, and makes job creation even more difficult in a stagnant economy.
"It is not surprising that the plan is loaded with convoluted triggers, commissions, and promises. Washington simply isn’t being honest with us — this plan won’t create jobs or get the economy back on track. The budget projections and this bill are based on an assumption that the economy will quickly rebound, despite the fact that nearly every statistical measure gives us no indication that will occur anytime soon."
Leppert added that while Washington may be congratulating itself for reaching compromise today, "it’s the American people and future generations that will be suffering the consequences of their failures."
The former solicitor general came out strongly against the proposal, saying in a statement that he would "unequivocally vote 'no.'" Cruz said Obama was "scare-mongering" about the effects of a federal default and, like Dewhurst, called out the government for it's "addiction" to spending.
Cruz said a "sensible" bill would include immediate spending cuts and budget caps, no new taxes and a balanced-budget amendment.
He added: "A responsible President would say the following: 'Regardless of what happens on the debt ceiling, we will pay the interest on our debt. The United States will never default on its debt, period. We honor our word. And we will not hold the paychecks of our armed services and Social Security checks hostage — there is more than ample government revenue to provide for all three, regardless of whether or when the debt ceiling is raised.'
"President Obama refuses to say this because he is addicted to government spending, and he wants to avoid any real spending cuts. So instead he plays chicken with defaulting on our national debt. For that reason, President Obama is directly responsible for all the turmoil and uncertainty in the market and the economy — because he keeps threatening a default on our debt, rather than taking that option off the table."
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