by Jim Nintzel
The budget plan cooked up by U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) made it through the House of Representatives last night on an 332-94 vote.
The proposal provides some relief from the sequester spending limits and provides a budgetary framework for the next two years. That will prevent some cuts to military and social programs while raising some fees, such as the federal surcharge on airline tickets. (If you're interested in digging into the details, Wonkblog rounds up a whole bunch of coverage here.)
U.S. Reps. Ron Barber (D-CD2) and Ann Kirkpatrick (D-CD1), who are both in competitive congressional districts in next year's midterm elections, voted in favor of the budget proposal.
Barber sent out the following statement:
I came to Congress to solve problems for Southern Arizonans and to work with people, even when we disagree. Today I joined Republicans and Democrats to pass a budget and curb the mandatory and irresponsible cuts known as sequestration that have been hurting Southern Arizona families, businesses and our military.
While I don't agree with everything in this bill, this is a critical step to end gridlock in Washington and create certainty for Arizona's economy, Border Patrol agents and their families, educators who teach our children and our national defense and readiness.
Today was a step forward, but we must continue the fight to end sequestration permanently. I also am deeply concerned by a 1 percent reduction in pension benefits for military retirees under age 62. I am appalled at this effort to find budget savings on the backs of our military men and women and their families.
I will work with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to ensure military retirees have the benefits they've earned and that we've promised them in their retirement.
Today, Congress finally did its job by passing a budget. I’ve often said that bipartisanship is the key to getting results, and we are long overdue for both sides of the aisle to work together. I voted for this bipartisan bill because, although it’s not perfect, it’s good for District One’s national parks, schools, rural highways, tribal communities and defense workers. And it provides more stability for our small-business owners and local economies that were hit so hard by the reckless government shutdown.
Congressman Raul Grijalva was one of 32 Democrats who opposed the budget deal. The Range reported on his concerns yesterday. Today, he sent out another statement explaining his opposition:
The best way to help the American people is to create jobs and get more families back into this economy, and this deal doesn’t do that. I don’t see enough here that helps the people I represent. This package doesn’t help people looking for jobs, it doesn’t help people wondering what they’re supposed to do when their unemployment insurance is cut off, and it doesn’t create any new opportunities for working Americans. It used the flawed Budget Control Act as its starting point, and that meant the finished product wasn’t strong enough to earn my support.
We started cutting too deeply years ago, and we’ve just been cutting more ever since. It’s as though the only job Congress is here to do is make things tougher for people. If we want an economy that really creates growth and opportunity, all we have to do is look at what we’ve gotten from austerity economics to see we’re not getting results.
The Weekly has reached out to Martha McSally, Ed Martin and Shelley Kais, who are vying in the CD 2 GOP primary, to see if they have any comment on the budget deal, as well as Arizona House Speaker Andy Tobin, state Rep. Adam Kwasman and rancher Gary Kiehne, who are running the CD1 primary. So far, only Kwasman has gotten back to us. He used the vote as a way to send out a fundraising pitch that included this assessment of the legislation:
This week, the DC insiders released a budget agreement that is a bad deal for the American people. The politicians in Washington are breaking the "permanent" caps on spending, adding nearly $70 Billion to the budget, and increasing fees on consumers. They "pay" for these immediate spending increases by cutting future spending throughout the next decade. This is not fiscal stewardship. Washington is kicking the can down the road!