The Washington Post

Debt vote splits Virginia lawmakers

Virginia’s congressional delegation split Monday night along unusual lines on the compromise plan to raise the debt-ceiling, with the state’s lawmakers voting in similar ratios to the full U.S. House.

Seven of Virginia’s 11 House members voted for the debt measure, which passed the House 269-161. Two of the state’s most liberal Democrats, James P. Moran Jr. and Robert C. Scott, joined conservative Republicans Randy Forbes and Morgan Griffith in opposing the bill. In the “aye” column were Republicans Eric Cantor, Robert Goodlatte, Robert Hurt, Scott Rigell, Robert Wittman and Frank Wolf, plus Democrat Gerald Connolly.

Just as members from around the country brought different arguments for and against the bill, Virginians nominally on the same side of the vote could not agree on why they were supporting it.

Complaining that Republicans had played “a dangerous game of chicken,” Connolly said he was “disappointed that revenue is not included initially, but under this agreement it will be on the table moving forward and we can live to fight another day. ... The agreement includes no immediate cuts to federal workers’ pay and benefits, although the spending cuts imposed on civilian agencies will certainly have an impact.”

Rigell, by contrast, said he backed the bill even though its spending-cut level “is not enough to arrest the trajectory that we are on” He also praised the bill for requiring the House and Senate to vote on a balanced budget amendment.

“So though imperfect, I believe this agreement is historic in that it fundamentally changes the fiscal trajectory of our country,” Rigell said.

But Griffith, who voted for Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) debt bill last Friday, said he couldn’t vote for the final version because it was “not quite as good” and only required a balanced budget amendment vote, not passage.

On the other end of the spectrum, Moran said he was opposed to the bill because it didn’t include tax increases.

“At a time of stagnant growth and high unemployment, the far-right of the Republican party has been able to hold our economic security hostage in exchange for deep cuts that will reduce growth and employment and increase inequality in the short term without properly addressing the structural causes behind our long-term deficits,” Moran said.


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