Party Lines Soften in the Florida Delegation on Budget Vote

This week, the U.S. House voted to suspend the debt limit for two years and passed a $1.37 trillion budget with $738 billion going to defense. The proposal was supported by U.S. Treasury Sec. Steven Mnuchin and U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The budget proposal passed on a 284-189 vote. Most of the Democratic majority–219 members–voted to back it while 16 opposed it. Most of the Republican caucus–132 members–voted against it while 65 supported it.

Party lines mostly held in the Florida delegation. U.S. Rep. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., was the sole Democrat from the Sunshine State to vote against the proposal. Florida Republican U.S. Reps. Gus Bilirakis, Mario Diaz-Balart, Neal Dunn and John Rutherford voted for the proposal.

Democrats from the Sunshine State stressed what the budget included while jabbing the White House for increasing the national debt.

“Today, the House of Representatives put partisanship aside to do the right thing ‘For The People,’” said U.S. Rep. Charlie Crist, D-Fla.. “Although not perfect – no compromise is – the Bipartisan Budget Act is a win for the middle class. It will provide the American people with two years of budget certainty, significantly reducing the risk of a shutdown, while making needed investments in veterans, national defense, medical research, infrastructure, and education. Floridians are tired of Congress careening from crisis to crisis. The Bipartisan Budget Act gives the American people a break from the brinksmanship that has marred our national politics for too long.

“At the same time, I am disappointed that the bill continues the trend of the Trump administration’s trillion dollar deficits, only exacerbated by the $1.9 trillion tax giveaway to the wealthiest and largest corporations,” Crist added. “As someone who balanced four consecutive budgets as governor, I know firsthand about the tough decisions required to be fiscally responsible. As we move forward, the need for a Balanced Budget Amendment only grows.”

“Today’s strong, bipartisan bill allows us to invest in the health and well-being of the American people. It restores certainty to our budgeting, avoids another reckless government shutdown, and protects the full faith and credit of the United States,” said U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla.

Republicans from the Sunshine State said the proposed budget included too much spending.

U.S. Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., insisted Pelosi was to blame for higher spending and called on his allies in the White House to go back to the drawing board.

“Earlier today, the House passed a budget deal brokered by Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Instead of exhibiting fiscal restraint, Speaker Pelosi’s budget is a wish list for Democrat priorities and wasteful spending. If the budget is a roadmap for the American people, then Speaker Pelosi is driving us into spending oblivion. We cannot allow this. I encourage President Trump to negotiate a deal that strengthens our military, helps our veterans, and cuts our bloated spending,” said Gaetz.

“As I have crossed the district, my constituents routinely voice concern about our escalating national debt and why Congress does not make the hard choices necessary to deal with the problem,” said U.S. Rep. Ross Spano, R-Fla. “Hardworking American families are forced to balance their checkbook every month, and they wonder why Washington doesn’t have to do the same.  I share these concerns, and this is why I voted against the Budget Act of 2019.  The bill suspends the debt limit and increases our spending for the next two years by over $300 billion above the 2011 budget caps that were put in place to control spending.  I pledge to work with my colleagues on solutions to get us back on the path toward fiscal responsibility.”

From her perch as one of the leaders of the Blue Dog Caucus, which defines itself as “fiscally responsible Democrats,” Murphy weighed in on whey she stood against the proposal.

“The future of our nation depends on members of Congress finding the political courage to work together and make the tough decisions to get our nation’s fiscal house back in order. It’s clear that the bipartisan budget deal lacks this courage from both parties by abandoning fiscal discipline altogether and allowing $1 trillion deficits to be signed into law,” Murphy said. “Congress can be fiscally responsible—and we must be—for future generations of Americans. Otherwise, we will soon come to a point where we will have to spend on our past rather than invest in our future. As our country continues to face real challenges, from fixing our crumbling infrastructure to addressing climate change, skyrocketing interest payments on the debt will limit our ability to make those necessary investments going forward.

“Last week, we released the Blue Dog Blueprint for Fiscal Reform, which included bipartisan fixes Congress can make right now to begin to clean up our fiscal mess. Congress should bring these solutions to the floor for a vote when we return in the Fall. Our children and grandchildren are counting on us to make this right,” she added.

Dunn insisted on Friday morning that he voted for the budget proposal to support the White House and the military.

“Last night, I stood with President Trump and voted in favor of the budget deal at his very specific request. We share a desire to rebuild our military after years of neglect under the Obama administration and this deal continues that progress. President Trump and I would both prefer greater spending reforms, but we cannot allow perfect to become the enemy of ‘the good.’ Nor do we want our men and women in uniform to suffer under sequestration. This deal cements the rebuild of Tyndall Air Force Base as well as aid programs providing relief to the Panhandle which are still very necessary,” Dunn noted.

 

Reach Kevin Derby at kevin.derby@floridadaily.com.

 

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