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Iowa’s U.S. Senators also rejected the debt ceiling deal

As expected, the U.S. Senate passed a deal Tuesday to avoid a looming midnight deadline that would have sent the nation into unprecedented default.

In a 74-26 vote, Senators approved legislation deal that will not only raise the debt ceiling, but also implement spending cuts. 60 votes are required for passage in the Senate.

The deal was struck Sunday by President Barack Obama and House majority and minority leaders. Primarily, the debt ceiling will be raised through the end of this calendar year, forms a bipartisan congressional committee to develop and recommend long-term reforms, and reduces spending by $2.4 trillion.

Obama is expected to sign the bill into law immediately.

Though the bill — Senate 365 or the Budget Control Act of 2011– was characterized by federal leaders as a bipartisan agreement, disdain and dissatisfaction regarding the legislation was just as bipartisan.

Iowa’s five Congressmen — three Democrats and two Republicans — all voted in opposition to the debt ceiling deal, passed Monday night in a 269-to-161 vote. Democrats were displeased that taxes were not increased on wealthy Americans, therefore not ensuring created revenues, and that big business received tax cuts; Republicans, on the other hand, said the legislation will only add to debt burden and is not a long-term solution for the nation.

Iowa’s U.S. Senators were mutually unimpressed; both also voted to reject the debt ceiling deal.

Tom Harkin

Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) expressed disdain for the deal the night before, directly stating he would vote against the bill because of the spending cuts, which, Harkin said in his Monday prepared Floor remarks, “could easily plunge America back into recession.”

“Is anyone paying attention?” Harkin asked. “To say that this is the wrong policy at the wrong time is a gross understatement. Mr. President, for the record, the American people do not want to take down Federal funding and investment to the level of the Eisenhower years. To do so would be to renounce the Great Society and the social contact that is at its core. It is tantamount to repudiating Head Start, Medicaid, the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, the Higher Education Act, clean air and clean water programs, and on and on. These programs, along with Social Security, under-gird the middle class in this country.”

His counterpart, conservative U.S. Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), also voted it down.

Image has not been found. URL: http://media.iowaindependent.com/chuck_grassley_125.jpgChuck Grassley

“The federal debt will continue to climb another $7 trillion under this deal, and the promise of cuts down the road, rather than making those decisions now, is more of the same from Washington. Congress can always change the promises made in this deal, and the sad reality is that Congress has a record of abandoning fiscal responsibility when it’s time for tough decisions,” Grassley said through his press office mid-day Tuesday.

“During the last five years, debt-limit increases have averaged $800 billion for six months, so this $2.4 trillion increase is an extraordinary expansion of government debt, just the opposite of what we ought to be doing. I wish this plan was proportional to the size of the problems we face,” he continued.

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