17 December 2009

They Voted for You: Debt

U.S. Reps. Alan Mollohan, D-1st, and Nick Rahall, D-3rd, voted for what The Associated Press describes as "legislation giving the federal government the ability to borrow a whopping $290 billion to finance its operations for just six additional weeks."

As with a subsequent roll call on jobs stimulus, Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-2nd, and the other House GOP members present opposed the measure in the 218-214 vote.

"The measure is needed as a result of the out-of-control budget deficit, which registered $1.4 trillion for the budget year that ended in September," the article said. "The current debt ceiling is $12.1 trillion and is set to be reached by Dec. 31."

AP also reported on the partisan divide reflected in the vote:

Because Democrats control both Congress and the White House, it was their job to muster the votes required to advance the bill, even though much of the increase is required due to economic conditions inherited by President Barack Obama as he took office. The down economy has cut tax revenues sharply.

Republicans - who helped supply votes to increase the debt ceiling just last year - unanimously opposed the legislation, which is required to issue new debt to pay for federal operations and deposit up to $50 billion into the Social Security trust funds that pay pensions.

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