U.S. House delays showdown over debt ceiling; Oklahoma's delegation splits

Republican plan will suspend debt ceiling until mid-May, giving lawmakers and the president more time to negotiate spending cuts. Oklahoma's two newest delegation members voted against the measure.
by Chris Casteel Published: January 24, 2013

Some House Democrats opposed the bill on Wednesday, arguing that it was written by House Republican leaders with no input from rank-and-file members of either party and didn't solve the debt limit problem.

“Kicking the can down the road for three more months is not a solution,” said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-N.Y.

Freshmen Reps. Jim Bridenstine, R-Tulsa, and Markwayne Mullin, R-Westville, voted against the bill.

Bridenstine said “suspension of the debt ceiling is more alarming than an increase” and could allow the Obama administration to issue billions of dollars of additional debt.

Moreover, he said, the U.S. Constitution prohibits lawmakers from varying congressional compensation during their current terms. Delaying pay is a form of varying it, he said.

And he said the requirement that the Senate pass a budget didn't mean it would be a fiscally responsible budget.

But Rep. Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, praised the bill for forcing the Senate to “set forth a plan to help tackle our nation's debt disaster.”

Even with a delay in the debt ceiling debate, Congress is facing two other important deadlines: In early March, automatic budget cuts — established in the last debt ceiling fight in 2011 — are set to go into effect that will hit the Defense Department harder than other areas of government; and in late March, funding for most government departments and agencies will expire.

by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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