Senators place blame for budget stalemate
September 25th, 2011
01:47 PM ET
3 years ago

Senators place blame for budget stalemate

(CNN) – Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander and Democratic Sen. Mark Warner engaged in a political back-and-forth Sunday that revealed fractures between both parties—and the House and Senate.

Though Warner admitted the threat of another government shutdown as a result of a budget showdown is “embarrassing,” he also told CNN’s “State of the Union” that the conservative tea party movement was causing yet another stalemate.

The latest budget faceoff comes as current funding for government agencies is set to expire September 30 without a continuing resolution to extend spending.

The House of Representatives passed a short-term bill that included additional money for disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, which have almost depleted their resources due to Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee, wildfires and tornadoes this year.

The Senate defeated the House measure on Friday, complaining that it included spending cuts elsewhere to offset some of the additional disaster relief money in what Democrats called an unprecedented encumbrance to emergency aid.

Warner blamed “a small group within the House of the tea party crowd” for demanding the spending offsets and picking another budget fight after last month’s debt ceiling deal that was supposed to prevent any further threats of a government shutdown through 2012.

“There is this effort that’s ‘my way or the highway’ again,” said Warner, the former governor of Virginia.

But Alexander, a former governor of Tennessee now in his second Senate term, pointed the blame back at Democrats, saying Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid “manufactured a crisis all week about disaster when there’s no crisis.”

“Everybody knows we’re going to pay for every single penny of disaster aid that the president declares and that FEMA certifies,” Alexander insisted. “The House sent over a bill that does that and the Senate should have approved it.”

Warner called the current standoff a “spectacle,” while Alexander described it as a week of “chest-pounding and game-playing.”

But for both senators, Congress and the nation should be focused instead on the role of the special joint congressional committee created to force a deficit reduction plan.

“We've got to get back to the bigger issue which is how do we send confidence back to the American public and to the markets,” Warner said. “The only way we're going to get that done is if we actually, Democrats and Republicans, start being Americans before they put on their partisan hats.”

soundoff (381 Responses)
  1. Shannon

    People are starting to wake up to the Tea Party, the little support they had is dwindling. Their rigid ideology, their bigotry, racism, and childish rhetoric was bad enough to turn people away. But now that we see their unwillingness to compromise along with their cheering the idea of death for the uninsured, their absolute glee at the idea of executing people, and most shameful their booing of an active duty American soldier, no normal American wants to be associated with them. Of course they still have their supporters, people who aren't smart enought to know they should feel shame at being part of such a group.

    September 25, 2011 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  2. peter

    The Tea Party makes me sick. What a bunch of childish idiots. They call themselves patriots. They are no such thing. They are about as anti-American as they come. Our system of governments was designed to accommodate different ways of thinking, not to push people who don't think like they do out. They should all be thrown in jail.

    September 25, 2011 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  3. TPaw

    The Republicans are not reasonable. They need to pass the bill before they can blame the Prez. If something goes wrong after then they can blame him However as far as we can see now it's the House's fault. Boner is not a leader, he can't control his TParty kids. Where were they when Bush blew trillions of dollars? Didn't they see debt coming?

    September 25, 2011 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  4. disgusted

    The Tea Party is not the blame. Everyone must recognize that our Government has a spending problem and there is a lot of waste such as 113 billion for medical, educational, welfare, food stamps, tax refunds to illegals, next Obama and the Democrats went a head and gave 563 million or so to Solandra even when the Bush administrationn put it on hold, and the Feds said this company would file bankruptcy in September 2011, Obama also went behind the backs of Congress for a war to get rid of Ghadafi which was none of our business and is costing us a bundle,, Senators spend on ridiculous pork, such as a bridge to nowhere, monney for a small airport in NY,, billions for foreign aid to countries who hate the US, development of jobs Obama promised to Brazil for drilling, giving amnesty behind closed doors for illegals and in-state tuition which is againnst the Constitution, welfare to people who are not poor, food stamps to people who are not poor, etc., I could go on and on. The Tea Party of which I am not is correct when they say stop spending and balance the budget which Obama and the Democrats refuse to do. Spending is out of control and just as we are asked to tighten up our purse strings so should this Government. If you refuse to balance the budget the correctness which needs to be done, they all of you should resign, and Obama should be impeached for what he has done to this country,

    September 25, 2011 04:26 pm at 4:26 pm |
  5. Hitobito

    Put every Tea Party congressmen in jail for treason and throw away the key. If that's not enough, convict them for treason and execute every one of them. Good riddance to garbage.

    September 25, 2011 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  6. puppet

    My take...since we tend to enjoy generalizing...is those who blame the tea party are the ones driving this country into debt because they do not believe in living within their means. This is the group defaulting on credit cards, mortgages, does not pay their fair share of taxes and expects others to take care of them. Their personal finances are in the toilet but they want to drive BMW's even though they can;t meet their other obligations. Now, how is that for a generalization...gosh...this is fun...if only it resolved something.

    September 25, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  7. Root and stem

    Blame the Tea Party ? Every statement by Shannon is false. The Marxist led Democrat party is running scared like they never have before. Mr Obama and Shannon at this site and Reid and Pelosi know that the end draws near. Marxism/Socialism/Progressivism is dead in the country and the acst of violence that Mr. Obama is now calling for will not save the left.

    September 25, 2011 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  8. Bill

    It's fine to seek a BALANCE to our spending, but the Tea Party is using the matter as a way of chipping away at services and policies IT deems wasteful and/or irrelevant. Of course, the Tea Party represents the extreme, far-right wing of the Republican party and DOES NOT represent a MAJORITY of Americans, so their views are NOT the NORM. To them, global warming, universal healthcare, employee rights, clean air and water are simply not important issues. Protecting corporations and the wealthy ARE important issues and their politics confirms that.

    A loud, divisive and corporate-aligned MINORITY should NOT determine the fate of this great country.

    September 25, 2011 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  9. puppet

    Extremism...tea party extremism...extremism on the right brings balance to extremism on the left. Thank you tea party for giving us balance and showing there is another option.

    September 25, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  10. Root and stem

    Violence is not the answer. Mr. Obama and the Democrat party must stop calling for violence against the American people. We have a right to speak out about the radical Marxism of Mr. Obama without being threatened with physical harm against us.

    September 25, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  11. wadde

    It's very simple cut all the gimme programs and foreign aid to offset the idiots that believe the U.S. can run the printing press 24 hrs. everyday to pay for all this garbage. Some people actually understand fiscal responsibility(you can't continue spending more than you take in) that is the liberal way of spending someone else's money while they complain about not getting ahead.

    September 25, 2011 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  12. Hmmm..

    What kind of crap is this? It isn;t the tea party, dems, gop...heck, we all work with each other within comoanies and make common decisions for the health of the company and do very succesfully for all. So why is it that we blame the...Tea Party, Wingnuts, conservatives, religious whak jobs....these are the same people who built google, microsoft, IBM, Bank of America, Ford, the Hartford....sure blame the people who started these compnaies with their seed money for being selfish but I never started a company in my life and only through the companies that I worked for could I support m6y family. So, if we wish to throw all that away and allow the political game to cause us to NOT be able to be succesful in growing our country...cool but that finger pointing elsewhere might just as well be stuck up your own nose. I think we can do better but it means using our brains in the same we we do at work...not as political sewerage.

    September 25, 2011 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  13. us1776

    TEA = Pledges = GRIDLOCK !!

    No TEA in 2012 !!

    September 25, 2011 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  14. delilahjones

    I like what "PLB" posted: "Cut all funding going to the tea party districts to pay for FEMA." The tea party does not the Government's help and should therefore put their $ where their mouths are! The tea party is unamerican and they are ruining this country!

    September 25, 2011 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  15. ethandy

    More paralyzing republican splinter-cell antics driving economic uncertainty by attaching yet another radical ultimatum to a routine, widely accepted and expected government procedure.

    It doesn't have to be like this. We can vote the obstructionists out next year. Let's vote the obstructionists out so that human progress can resume. We can vote in courageous, forward-thinking, compassionate individuals who are not committed to dragging the United States into a new dark age. There is a lot of anger and frustration here – and there should be. Turn that energy into votes. Encourage every eligible voter you know to vote. Never take the opportunity to vote lightly. The tea party is what happens when we don't stay informed and make our stand at the polls.

    Vote, people! Vote!

    September 25, 2011 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  16. Kweg Yung

    Bush's “Tax cuts for the rich” provided the revenue needed for corporate America's offshore expansion. He put us into debt while lining the pockets of his corporate buddies- giving them a head start offshore. The Republican party sold us (U.S.) out!

    September 25, 2011 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  17. Kweg Yung

    Evidently corporate America thrives on socialism. Why else would they move to communist China, where socialized health care and socialized education are the norm? Actions speak louder than words. Louder than the nonsense emitted from the mouths of the G.O.P.

    September 25, 2011 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  18. john

    It is a shame that democrat senators blaming Tea Party for stalemate. Democrats in the senate did not pass a budget for almost two years. House republicans passed their budget. If the CR is the new norm, then the democrat /president leadership is the true problem. Stop blaiming minority of a minority for the incompetence of the democrat leadership. Do you know why democrats like to CR rather than a budget? They like to spend other people's money without any accountability. Democrats, President, and People like Morgan Freeman are inciting violence and racism by using unfounded and vitriolic languages toward other amercans soley because they disagree with the president and have different point of view.

    September 25, 2011 05:04 pm at 5:04 pm |
  19. Jerry Freedman

    Root and stem: Could you explain what a "Marxist" is and how that relates to the Democratic Party? Once you have defined Marxist, could you further explain how Obama a "radical Marxist"? Parroting Tea Party invective is not an answer. Lets see some real definitions and a thoughtful answer.

    September 25, 2011 05:10 pm at 5:10 pm |
  20. SecedingfromTexas

    @RootandStem:
    ************
    I was going to say "Disgusted"s remarks were 'disgusting', but you just won the lottery on disgust. Exactly what
    "violence" is President Obama calling for against the American people, where did you hear it, what was said,
    where was it said, and show me a quote where the President "threatened physical harm" against us. You can't
    do it, can you.

    September 25, 2011 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  21. Tex71

    Even with all the suffering that has been the result of the recent push towards the far right, it will have been worth it if the great majority of Americans wake up to the truth that they have for too long been nothing but a source of cheap labor for the Wall St. crowd. Sheep to the slaughter. The Koch Bros. and their kind have had their way with the American workforce for too long. It is indeed time to take back America: not in the Tea Party sense of returning the country to a place where working citizens have no rights, no education, and no hope and live short, nasty, brutish lives whose only purpose is to enrich the already excessively wealthy, but in the sense of finally claiming the vision of America's founders: a nation of freeborn people who care for each other and for each others' children because we are all Americans. A government not only of the people, but by and for the people. A country in which no innocent child is made to suffer or forego opportunity because of a parent's misfortune, lack of initiative, or even crimes.
    Down with traitors who wold sell their brothers and sisters for profit!
    Down with vultures who would gain from the loss and misery of their fellow Americans!
    Down with greedy gluttons who refuse to give back, even from their abundance, to the society that has enriched them!
    God bless America and all good Americans!

    September 25, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  22. Red State Mike

    If the Tea Party doesn't want to give FEMA any funding until there are spending cuts elsewhere, then let them have their way. Let the Tea Partiers explain to (largely republican) Texans why they're allowing wildfires to keep burning 30 million acres of their states–and growing. Rick Perry disagrees with the Tea Party on this one, as he wants FEMA funded immediately-largely because he slashed Texas' fire fighting budget from $30 million/year to $7 million/year, Texas can't handle the mess they're in, and they're looking for a "federal bailout." Sorry, guys. You can't have it both ways.

    September 25, 2011 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  23. MrRobertK

    Because the TEA Party are the only people in the room paying attention to the 800 pound debt gorilla in the corner.

    September 25, 2011 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  24. SecedingfromTexas

    @ethandy:
    ******
    You are right, but we can't wait another year, there won't be anything left.

    September 25, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  25. Namejkane

    The repubbagers freakshow has no chance in 2012 kick out all the do nothing teapublicans. First its keyword job creaators,have not create one job with the current. Taxation in the past8 year. Now its class warfaire.vote out all the teapupblicans freakshow in 2012.

    September 25, 2011 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
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