NASHVILLE — U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Tenn., said today he is voting for the Budget Control Act of 2011, Republican House Speaker John Boehner’s answer to Democratic President Barack Obama and congressional Democrats on lifting the debt ceiling and cutting federal spending.
“While this bill is not perfect, it cuts spending by almost $1 trillion, does not raise taxes by one penny and requires both houses of Congress to take up a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution that will finally end our runaway spending,” the freshman GOP lawmaker from Chattanooga said in a statement.
“I have said from the very beginning that in order for the debt ceiling to be raised there must be significant budget reforms and work toward a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution. This bill provides for both; and, therefore, I will be casting a vote today that gets our fiscal house in order while defending the full faith and credit of the United States,” he said.
The bill is scheduled to come up later this evening in the House.
But U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., said he is voting against it, noting “we need a comprehensive, bipartisan proposal that raises our debt ceiling and lowers the debt in the long-term, and we need one in the next five days.
“The Boehner bill doesn’t meet any of these criteria and it won’t have my support,” Cooper said.
The Nashville congressman has has introduced legislation that would strip congressmen of their pay “if our country defaults on the national debt” and would prevent the pay to be reinstated retroactively when the debt ceiling is raised.
The House GOP’s bill has been declared dead-on-arrival by Senate majority Democrats. Congress has until Aug. 2 to raise the debt ceiling, Obama says, until the nation defaults on its obligations.
“In my meetings with House leadership, and Speaker Boehner himself, I made it clear that we must work to get spending under control and work to put a Balanced Budget Amendment in place. I am pleased that changes have been made to this bill to bring it in line with what the American people want, and what our country needs moving forward,” Fleischmann continued.
“Small business owners know they will go out of business if they spend more than they take in, and expect the government to operate by the same common-sense principle. Washington has a spending problem, not a revenue problem. We at NFIB thank Congressman Fleischmann for helping make the cuts necessary to start us on a path to get our fiscal house in order without raising taxes on America’s job-creators,” said Dan Danner, president of the National Federation of Independent Business.
Andy Sher is a Nashville-based staff writer covering Tennessee state government and politics for the Times Free Press. A Washington correspondent from 1999-2005 for the Times Free Press, Andy previously headed up state Capitol coverage for The Chattanooga Times, worked as a state Capitol reporter for The Nashville Banner and was a contributor to The Tennessee Journal, among other publications. Andy worked for 17 years at The Chattanooga Times covering police, health care, county government, ...