Sens. Toomey, Lautenberg, Menendez oppose debt deal

The long-awaited federal deal to increase the country’s borrowing limit drew “no” votes from several area lawmakers.

Pennsylvania’s freshman Republican senator voted no on the deal, in part because of what he described as vague and limited cuts.

Pat Toomey talked to host Dom Giordano of radio station WPHT about his concerns::

“So what the Democrats have done is they have walled off all the welfare programs so none of the welfare programs can get any cuts. It comes down to discretionary spending, half of which has to be defense,” said Toomey. “Now here is the problem with this theory. The theory is that Democrats don’t like the cuts to non-defense discretionary spending, Republicans don’t like the cuts to defense spending so everyone will have an incentive to support this committee, except that there is a third alternative. Congress can pass another law waiving the whole thing.”

Some Democrats, such as New Jersey’s two senators, also were not pleased with the deal that calls for more than $2 trillion in budget cuts over the next decade.

Democrats Bob Menendez and Frank Lautenberg were among the 26 senators who opposed the agreement.

Menendez said he’s happy the debt ceiling is being raised but warns the spending cuts are unfair to working families and will have consequences.

“I am seriously concerned that the large, short-term cuts are going to take this economy which is so fragile and put it back into recession,” Menendez said.

Lautenberg called the legislation a shakedown and accused tea party Republicans of holding the country hostage to their ideological demands.

“They extracted, extorted I will say, a harshness to be imposed on people who can least afford it,” Lautenberg said.

Toomey said he wants more of the limits on spending to be specified and locked down now.

“I have argued for a long time, whatever Congress promises by way of spending cuts in the future, that’s nice,” he said. “If you want to know if Congress is serious about those promises, you look at the cuts they’re enacting right now.”

Sen. Bob Casey of Pennsylvania and Delaware’s Sens. Tom Carper and Chris Coons, all Democrats, supported the deal.

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