Herrera Beutler votes in favor of debt-limit deal

Murray, Cantwell say they will support legislation

By Kathie Durbin, Columbian staff writer

Published:

Updated: August 1, 2011, 9:09 PM

 

Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Camas, cast her vote for the debt limit-deficit reduction deal Monday but said in a statement that she shares the frustrations of Southwest Washington residents over the process that led up to the 11th-hour agreement.

“Is it a perfect plan? No,” she said. “For instance, I would like to have a firmer commitment to a balanced budget, which would mean no more debt ceiling crises ever again. Not every spending reform is where I would like it. But the U.S. will be able to meet its obligations, and this deal builds the framework to end overspending in D.C.”

U.S. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., a member of the Senate leadership, released a statement saying she intends to vote for the Budget Control Act of 2011 when it reaches the Senate floor Tuesday.

“I plan to vote to prevent the United States from defaulting on its obligations for the first time in our nation’s history. It is a vote to avoid an economic blow that would be felt across the globe, including in the lives, homes, and finances of nearly every Washington state family,” Murray said.

“To be clear, this plan is not ideal,” she added. “While we protected Medicare and Social Security from painful cuts today and prevented repeating this crisis in just a matter of months, it is undeniable that the spending cuts included in this package are serious and impactful. These cuts, not unlike those that have been made by struggling Washington state families during this recession, will be difficult sacrifices that are a reminder of the trying economic times we are in.”

Murray added that she is “deeply disappointed that Republicans refused to allow millionaires, billionaires, and oil companies to sacrifice” alongside middle-class families.

A spokesman for U.S. Sen. Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., said she too intended to vote for the bill.

“I intend to vote for this compromise to stave off a default that would have been disastrous for Washington families,” Cantwell said in a statement Monday. “As this process moves forward, I will continue to fight for a balanced approach that protects Social Security and Medicare and puts our focus on job creation.”

For Herrera Beutler, a member of the large class of House Republican freshmen, it was the third vote she has cast in the past two weeks in favor of a broad deficit-cutting, debt limit-raising measure.

On July 19, she voted for “Cut, Cap and Balance,” a bill that called for a congressional vote on a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution as one condition for raising the $14.3 trillion debt ceiling.

On July 29, she voted for a two-stage deficit-reduction bill pushed by House Speaker John Boehner.

Both measures were effectively dead on arrival when they reached the Senate floor.

In her statement Monday, Herrera Beutler said the latest deal meets the conditions she has set for supporting a rise in the debt limit.

“First, it does not raise taxes on the small businesses or families in Southwest Washington who are already struggling to survive this economic recession,” she said. “Second, it ensures seniors will receive their Social Security payments without disruption, and it protects that critical program in the long-term. In fact, Social Security is specifically exempted from cuts in the bill.

“Third, we have addressed D.C.’s habit of overspending. This agreement signals the first time in modern U.S. history we have come to an agreement that cuts spending — more than $2 trillion — without taxes, and we’ve done it in a bipartisan fashion.”

Among Washington’s House delegation, Republican Reps. Doc Hastings, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dave Reichert joined Herrera Beutler in voting for the deficit deal. Washington Democrats split their vote, with Reps. Jay Inslee, Rick Larsen and Norm Dicks voting in favor, and Reps. Jim McDermott and Adam Smith voting no.