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Rockefeller, Manchin vote for debt deal

By Staff | Aug 2, 2011

West Virginia U.S. Senators Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin voted for the compromise debt deal Tuesday, Aug. 2.

The deal, which passed with a 74-26 vote in the U.S. Senate, will raise the country’s borrowing limit $14.3 trillion and prevent a possible U.S. debt default passed in Congress, according to The Associated Press.

Both senators released statements following the vote which took place about noon on Tuesday, 12 hours before the nation was expected to default on its debts.

“By increasing responsible spending cuts, imposing caps on discretionary spending, eliminating so-called war savings gimmicks, protecting Social Security and Medicare and including a guaranteed vote on what I hope will be a responsible Balanced Budget Amendment, I hope this legislation will chart a new fiscal course for this country one in which our federal spending is based on our values and our priorities. That said, this deal is far from perfect; it is a compromise that does not have everything we would wish for in a perfect world. I still remain very concerned about a downgrade, and clearly, much work remains to be done to get our nation’s fiscal house in order. I am committed to doing everything in my power to bring fiscal discipline back to Washington in a responsible way that keeps our promises to our seniors and veterans,” Sen. Manchin said in a statement.

He added, “Looking ahead to this fall, I will work with my colleagues both Democrats and Republicans to develop a long-term deficit fix based on a balanced approach that includes responsible cuts, tax reform and the elimination of waste, fraud and abuse. I will strive for an approach that I hope will not only help prevent a credit rating downgrade, but will also help create a brighter future for the children of West Virginia and our nation.”

Rockefeller issued a statement saying, “This plan is far from perfect and it is not the bill I would have written. But if we don’t pass it, our nation will default and our economy will fall into an even worse recession. Default would cost jobs, slash people’s retirement savings, and raise interest rates on loans and credit cards. For too long this year, political gimmicks drove the debate about preventing a default. This plan is a compromise, and one that achieves the most important protections that I’ve advocated since day one. We blocked Republican efforts to drastically slash Medicaid for 402,000 West Virginians who can’t afford to lose health care. We stopped attempts to cut Social Security’s safety net for 272,000 West Virginia seniors on fixed incomes. We protected veterans’ benefits for 29,211 West Virginians who rely on them after they chose to put their country above all else. And we pushed back on Republican plans to cut Pell Grants, making it possible for about 35,000 West Virginians to afford to go to college each year. These are not small accomplishments. In coming months, I will keep fighting for these priorities and to make sure that future budget cuts are balanced and include shared sacrifice from the very wealthy.”

President Barack Obama immediately signed the bill into law after the measure passed in the Senate.