Alabama Congressional delegation splits on budget deal vote

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The Alabama Congressional delegation split votes Wednesday as the U.S. House of Representatives approved a two-year bipartisan budget agreement.

It was not your typical split however, as Republican Congressman Mike Rogers (AL-03) joined Democrat Rep. Terri Sewell (AL-07) in supporting the bill, making him one of only 79 Republicans to support the measure along with 187 Democrats. The rest of the delegation — Reps. Bradley Byrne (AL-01), Martha Roby (AL-02), Robert Aderholt (AL-04), Mo Brooks (AL-05) and Gary Palmer (AL-06) — were among 167 representatives, all Republicans, who voted against.

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 would raise the $18.1 trillion debt limit by $1.5 trillion until March 15, 2017, after the next President assumes office. The bill also would raise sequester spending caps by $50 billion in fiscal 2016 and $30 billion in 2017 and would make changes to the Social Security disability program.

“Our national debt currently exceeds $18 trillion and this budget deal would guarantee it increases,” said Palmer who voted against the bill. “It continues the too familiar trend of spending money now with hopes of finding ways to pay for it in the future.  For instance, $35 billion of the pay for’s occur in 2025, which is simply unacceptable. Instead of passing this bill, which pushes us in the wrong direction by increasing spending and raising the debt limit, we should have answered the call of the American people to reduce the national debt and balance our budget.”

Rep. Sewell sees things differently.

“While this bill is not a perfect one, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 breaks the sequester stronghold that has stifled our domestic and defense spending priorities,” Sewell began. “Alabama was hit hard when the sequester was implemented, and this bill loosens the arbitrary spending caps that hampered critical investments in domestic programs. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that the direct effect of the budget agreement will create 340,000 additional new jobs in 2016, and a total of 500,000 jobs by 2017. These jobs are critically important to hardworking Americans who continue to struggle to make ends meet and provide for their families.”

The bill now heads to the Senate where it is expected to be taken up quickly.

Once there, Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby have indicated they both would reject the agreement.

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