Government Bytes


45 Senators Vote in Disapproval of $500 Debt Ceiling Increase

by Brandon Greife / /

While half of America was still trying to figure out howPresident Obama was going to pay for the $450 billion in additional stimulus hehad just proposed, and the other half just giving up the idea and basking inthe return of pro-football, the Democrat-led Senate effectively hiked thenation’s debt limit by $500 billion.

Given the public uproar over the debt limit how did such animportant vote slide right under America’s collective nose? Clever timing onthe part of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid played a large part. While mosteyes and ears were still tuned to coverage of the President’s speech, the Senatereturned to its chamber to vote to begin debate on a resolution of disapproval.

Despite the lack of billing it received and the complicated,highly-technical nature of the vote, it nevertheless has a clear and significantimpact on taxpayers. Under the debt-ceiling agreement reached last month, theObama Administration received an immediate $400 billion increase to the debtceiling. The White House would obtain another $500 billion increase unless theHouse and Senate approved resolutions of disapproval.

Approving disapprovals is enough to make anyone’s head spin,but here what you really need to know – the vote provided a clear picture ofwhich senators are trying to put an end to deficit spending.

As Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saidin anticipation of the vote,

“Now, after the President’s speech tonight calling for morestimulus spending, the Senate will vote on his request for an additional $500billion increase in the debt ceiling. So senators will have an opportunity tovote for or against this type of approach right away.”

So who seized the opportunity? In a 45to 52 vote, every Republican, with the exception of Scott Brown (R-MA), votedto proceed to debate on the resolution of disapproval. They were also joined byBen Nelson (D-NE) who broke from his party to support Republicans in theirstance against the ever-rising tide of deficit spending that threatens toengulf America.

Our members of Congress should be doing everything they canto change the culture of excessive spending and borrowing in Washington.Although they were ultimately unsuccessful in stopping a $500 billion increasein the debt limit, yesterday’s vote shows that a significant number of senatorswill continue to stand up for Americans who deserve a future free from theburdens of government debt. And if President Obama’s costly new stimulus planis any indication, we’re going to need more senators to take that stand.