President Obama has signed into law a deal to raise the debt ceiling, fending off a national default, which he warned could roil the markets and leave the U.S. without enough money to pay its bills. The bill, brokered by the President and leaders in the House and Senate, came together Sunday evening. It cuts spending by more money than it raises the debt ceiling. And while it left conservative Tea Party members and liberal Democrats grumbling, it passed by a wider margin in both bodies of Congress than expected. The Senate voted in favor of the “Budget Control Act of 2011” today 74 to 26 and last night the House went 269 to 161.
The Alaska delegation all voted for it.
Something is better than nothing, according to Congressman Don Young.
“It’s…the best deal we can get,” Young said. “I’m convinced of that.”
Congressman Young says this deal heads off the danger of defaulting on the debt… and it gets the snowball of spending cuts rolling down the hill.
Initially it cuts nearly a trillion dollars over 10 years. But that’s just part one. Part two is the creation of a bipartisan Congressional group charged with coming up with ways to save one and a half trillion dollars more – be it through cuts, or reforms to taxes or entitlement programs.
Senator Mark Begich had some specific changes he wanted in the proposal. Like boosting taxes on millionaires. That’s a dealbreaker for some Democrats who won’t vote for it. But Begich is on board.
“It has meaningful reductions but they’re split between the Pentagon and discretionary which I think was important,” Begich said. “The other it does it protect in this first phase Medicare and Social Security benefits.”
And Begich says it gets the Congress – and the U.S. – out of what he calls a “hyperventilated” legislative process.