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Rowan’s U.S. reps disagree over federal budget proposal

Federal debt formed a partisan divide among Rowan County’s U.S. House members this week during a budget vote.

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday approved a federal budget by a 266-167 vote. It got the support of Rep. Alma Adams, D-12. Rep. Virginia Foxx, R-5, voted to oppose the spending measure. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-8, was one of two members of the U.S. House who missed the budget vote. Hudson was in North Carolina Wednesday for a family member’s funeral. Hudson, however, joined Foxx in saying he opposed the budget deal.

“Our country faces enormous debt and economic uncertainty because Washington continues to kick the can down the road and spend too much money,” Hudson said. “I remain committed to cutting this reckless spending, which is why I do not support this budget deal that tacks on $1.5 trillion to the national debt and spends more of our tax dollars with false promises of savings later.”

Hudson’s criticism is identical to reasons for Foxx’s vote against the deal. A swath of Republicans — 167 total — joined Foxx in her no vote. A total of 79 Republicans joined Democrats in voting for the deal, which came as House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, steps down and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., comes into office as speaker.

The deal would postpone any last-minute debt limit discussions in Congress until March 16, 2017 — after President Barack Obama leaves office — and suspend the U.S. government’s borrowing cap. In 2011 and 2013, the U.S. nearly defaulted on its debt.

It also lifts separate spending caps on defense and non-defense spending in the 2016 and 2017 fiscal years. Both caps amount to billions of dollars in relief from spending caps.

“Unfortunately, the budget agreement passed by the House ignores our fiscal realities and the magnitude of the problems we face,” Foxx said. “Filled with creative accounting, gimmickry and faux savings, it is not a responsible way to get the federal government’s finances in order and improve America’s long-term fiscal health.”

The approved budget deal would pay for federal spending, in part, by selling millions of barrels of petroleum from the U.S. oil reserve. It would increase defense spending by using war funds, which are not subject to budget caps.

In a statement, Adams wasn’t 100 percent supportive of the budget, but said Wednesday’s deal benefits national defense forces and domestic programs.

“Although it is not perfect, it is a major step in the right direction — putting an end to sequester cuts and providing more economic certainty for hard-working Americans,” Adams said.

Adams characterized the budget as strengthening the economy, creating jobs , averting a debt crisis and protecting seniors and those with disabilities. She said the budget will prevent a major increase in Medicare Part B premiums and deductibles for seniors. It would also stop a 20 percent cut in disability benefits and extend Social Security Disability Insurance.

The budget would prevent a major increase in Medicare premiums with a surcharge later.

With its Wednesday vote, the House sends the bill to the Senate, which would need to meet a Nov. 3 deadline.

Contact reporter Josh Bergeron at 704-797-4246.

 

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