U.S. Senate passes debt ceiling bill 74-26
The U.S. Senate passed the Budget Control Act of 2011 on Tuesday, after the bill was approved Monday by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives.
Forty-five Democrats, 28 Republicans and independent Sen. Joe Lieberman voted in favor of the bill. Nineteen Republicans, 6 Democrats and independent Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against the bill.
Among those Democrats voting against the bill were Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Bob Menendez (N.J.) and Ben Nelson (Neb.), all up for re-election in 2012 (Sanders, who caucuses with Democrats, is also up for re-election). Menendez said Monday that “I cannot in good conscience support a plan where soldiers, seniors, students, and working families must endure trillions in cuts, while oil companies, billionaires, and corporate jet owners are not asked to pay their fair share.”
Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) were the Republicans up for re-election in 2012 who voted against the bill. Hatch, who could be facing a primary challenge from a more tea party-friendly candidate, said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he rejected the bill because it did not sufficiently cut spending.
Two members of the “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of senators that proposed their own $3.7 trillion deficit reduction package containing both spending cuts and revenue increases, voted against the final bill: Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.).
In a statement after the vote, President Barack Obama said that the bill was an important first step, but that revenue increases for further deficit reduction are necessary. He also said that he would seek a jobs bill after Congress returns from their upcoming August recess.