PDT Staff Writer
On Saturday, Senate Republicans blocked a bid by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to extend the nation’s debt limit until after the 2014 midterm elections. In an 53-45 vote, the Senate failed to win the 60 votes necessary to advance the debt-limit measure to a floor debate. The bill would increase the federal debt by an estimated $1.1 trillion.
U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) explained his vote in opposition to raising the debt ceiling without reductions in spending.
“Raising the limit on our nation’s credit card by another trillion dollars without doing anything to address the underlying overspending that got us here in the first place is irresponsible,” Portman said. “We need to come together to find common ground and negotiate on an agreement. That’s what the American people want us to do, and it is the best way forward for our country. I will continue to work to find solutions that will not only prevent a debt limit crisis today, but also a debt crisis tomorrow.”
Every Democrat supported the measure, though Reid switched his vote at the end to preserve the right to bring the motion up for another vote later. Republicans criticized the legislation as politically transparent. Sen. Susan Collins (Maine) and two other centrist GOP Senators have instead proposed raising the debt-limit only until Jan. 31, 2014.
Several Democrats gathered with several Republicans, including Collins, Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.). The Democrats included senators Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Joe manchin (D-W.Va.), Joe Donnelley (D-Ind.), Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.), Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.).
Reid warned ahead of the vote that allowing the debt limit to expire would send the nation’s economy into a tailspin. The Obama administration has set an Oct. 17 deadline for expanding borrowing authority.
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