Most Read: Politics

Read In

Now Viewing: People from around the country looking at Post Politics section

See what's being read across the country ›
2chambers
Posted at 01:35 PM ET, 07/30/2011

43 Republican senators announce opposition to Reid debt-limit plan

Forty-three Republican senators on Saturday penned a letter outlining their opposition to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s bill to raise the country’s debt ceiling, a move that ensures the measure will fall short of the 60-vote threshold necessary to avoid a filibuster.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced on the floor shortly after the chamber convened Saturday afternoon that the senators had delivered the letter to Reid’s office.

The move means that even if Reid (D-Nev.) were to secure the support of all 53 members of the Democratic caucus as well as the four Republicans who did not sign the letter, his bill would still fall three votes short of the threshold.

“The plan you have proposed would not alter the spending trajectory that is putting our economy and national security at risk,” the senators wrote in their letter. “In return for an unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, your amendment reduces spending by less than $1 trillion over the next decade. Setting aside the $200 billion shortfall between the CBO scored savings and the $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, identified by the Congressional Budget Office, most of the proposal’s alleged savings are based on a false claim of credit for reductions in war-related spending that were already scheduled to occur.”

They added that the reworked Reid plan “proposes no change to our military posture and, for that reason, these savings are the sort of widely ridiculed accounting gimmick that breeds cynicism about our ability to tackle our fiscal challenges.”

They also charged that Democrats’ preference for a longer-term debt-limit increase was politically motivated.

“The only possible justification for a $2.4 trillion increase in borrowing authority is to allow the President to avoid any accountability for these issues before his 2012 election,” they wrote. “It is by constantly putting off these tough decisions that we have found ourselves with a national debt nearly equal to the size of our gross domestic product. The time for action is now, we cannot wait until we accumulate another $2.4 trillion in debt.”

Reid said on the Senate floor shortly before McConnell spoke that he had had conversations with “a couple of Republicans this morning” and that he hoped they would “bear fruit.” But it would now appear that any compromise would have to take the form of a deal negotiated between Reid and McConnell.

The full letter from the senators is below.

July 29, 2011

The Honorable Harry Reid

Majority Leader

United States Senate

S-221 Capitol Building

Washington, D.C. 20510-0001

Dear Leader Reid:

We are writing to let you know that we will not vote for your $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment which, if enacted, would result in the single largest debt ceiling increase in the history of the United States. In addition to this unprecedented increase in borrowing authority, your amendment completely fails to address our current fiscal imbalance and lacks any serious effort to ensure that any subsequent spending cuts are enacted.

The plan you have proposed would not alter the spending trajectory that is putting our economy and national security at risk. In return for an unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, your amendment reduces spending by less than $1 trillion over the next decade. Setting aside the $200 billion shortfall between the CBO scored savings and the $2.4 trillion debt limit increase, identified by the Congressional Budget Office, most of the proposal’s alleged savings are based on a false claim of credit for reductions in war-related spending that were already scheduled to occur. This amendment proposes no change to our military posture and, for that reason, these savings are the sort of widely ridiculed accounting gimmick that breeds cynicism about our ability to tackle our fiscal challenges. The only possible justification for a $2.4 trillion increase in borrowing authority is to allow the President to avoid any accountability for these issues before his 2012 election. It is by constantly putting off these tough decisions that we have found ourselves with a national debt nearly equal to the size of our gross domestic product. The time for action is now, we cannot wait until we accumulate another $2.4 trillion in debt.

For all of these reasons, we must oppose your unprecedented $2.4 trillion debt limit amendment. Given the nation’s enormous future spending challenges, it would be irresponsible to give the President this unprecedented additional borrowing authority without requiring the enactment of significant spending reductions and reforms. We urge you to abandon this reckless proposal and instead pursue a more responsible course of action that would rein in spending, reassure the financial markets, and help promote private sector job growth.

Sincerely,

Republican Leader Mitch McConnell

Republican Whip Jon Kyl

Senator Lamar Alexander

Senator Kelly Ayotte

Senator John Barrasso

Senator Roy Blunt

Senator John Boozman

Senator Richard Burr

Senator Saxby Chambliss

Senator Daniel Coats

Senator Tom Coburn

Senator Thad Cochran

Senator Bob Corker

Senator John Cornyn

Senator Mike Crapo

Senator Jim DeMint

Senator Michael Enzi

Senator Lindsey Graham

Senator Chuck Grassley

Senator Orrin Hatch

Senator Dean Heller

Senator John Hoeven

Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison

Senator James Inhofe

Senator Johnny Isakson

Senator Mike Johanns

Senator Ron Johnson

Senator Mark Kirk

Senator Mike Lee

Senator Richard Lugar

Senator John McCain

Senator Jerry Moran

Senator Rand Paul

Senator Robert Portman

Senator James Risch

Senator Pat Roberts

Senator Marco Rubio

Senator Jeff Sessions

Senator Richard Shelby

Senator John Thune

Senator Patrick Toomey

Senator David Vitter

Senator Roger Wicker

By  |  01:35 PM ET, 07/30/2011

 
Read what others are saying
     

    © 2011 The Washington Post Company