Senators place blame for budget stalemate
September 25th, 2011
01:47 PM ET
10 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. Really

    The Tea Party is also playing a big part in Global Warming.......

    September 26, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  2. davey

    so who did you little demmies blame when you had the presidency, the senate and the house and you couldn't pass a budget.
    your jobs bill is doa soetoro.

    September 26, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  3. Bill (Louisiana)

    The Tea Partiy is nothing but a bunch of nuts. They mix facts with myths and come out like a bunch of scatter brain nuts who are mostly rich class people looking out for their own capital gains. They should just change their party name to Capitalists Party and be done with it. Listen to them debate for president. The most realistic ones are Gingrich and Romney, but are their beliefs and statements to be trusted? Looks to me like another four years for President Obama.

    September 26, 2011 10:02 am at 10:02 am |
  4. durundal

    This is what happens when you elect a bunch of uneducated buffoons and ask them to legislate socioeconomic policy.... Whitless conservatism is winning out over intelligent policy decisions

    September 26, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  5. Cathy

    They have a total of 535 votes to pass any and all bills and you blame hold ups on 30 votes from the Tea Party....what a Hoot!

    September 26, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  6. Sue

    I am an independent - and wish more were. Vote for the person not the party. Jobs are important, but if government does not get a handle on their spending it will not matter as our country will cease to exist sooner or later due to debt that cannot be paid back. Everyone is going to hurt for this to happen - and a good start would be a budget. Yes – what a novel concept since Obama took office- a budget. Then cut that budget till it is balanced with revenues coming in. Stop giving away American dollars to foreign countries and cut all PORK. Take away Congressional and Presidential pay for the rest of their life – let them live on Social Security and their own retirement plans like the normal citizen does. Put all the monies stashed to pay them for doing nothing after they are out of office into the Social Security System. Congress and the president should not be excluded from anything they pass for the citizens of this country. Make Federal Employees pay and benefits relate equally to the private sector - with social security and retirement plans they pay into also. Only after all PORK is cut and we are not supporting foreign countries and Congress and the president are treated like all the citizens in the country – should we look at what is left and how much we need to do to balance the budget. We cannot keep growing the National Debt and printing funny money - if we did that in our own households we would be arrested. The funny money will help in our countries bankruptcy when all the foreign nations get tired of it and do away with the dollar being used for imports/exports, etc - and all that funny money comes back at us. Talk about inflation - get some wheelbarrows – you may need them to buy a loaf of bread if something doesn't happen.

    September 26, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  7. Florida Joe

    I cannot stand these folks like McChinless that stands there saying how the deficit is TOO BIG....YOU caused it by not paying for 2 wars and medicare part D for Big Pharma and NOW you are worried? IT'S JOBS that are needed, get the people back to work and the deficit will take care of itself............
    And where the heck was the T Party when BUSH was spending money on wars and tax cuts without paying for them....WHERE WERE YOU?????????????

    September 26, 2011 10:05 am at 10:05 am |
  8. ReallY!!?

    When the Dems were in full control for the first 2yrs of Obama Presidency, they could not even pass a budget. Back in March Obama's budget was rejected overwhelming by over 97% of Congress including all the DEMOCRATS! So if DEMS r against the Obama Budget, why is it the Tea Party's fault?
    Answer= DEMS are relying on ignorance (for example like most of the people posting here) of the people. It is pure madness to keep spending money we do not have. Why is that so hard for u liberals to get? Obama has spent over $5Trillion to date! We cannot keep borrowing fr China. Obama said it was unpatriotic for GWB to do it. Wake up and realize we are killing this country and our kids will be the ones to suffer the most!!! Do u think the bank will give u more credit after you have maxed out? It is simple common sense. Yet it escape everyone on the left. I just don't get it.

    September 26, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  9. boocat

    The next time someone says to me "your vote counts" I swear I will punch them in the head. The system is corrupt to the core and I AM NEVER VOTING AGAIN IN ANOTHER ELECTION. This country is getting exactly what it deserves because the citizens are stupid and greedy.

    September 26, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  10. Bill

    Sen. Alexander says the Hosue sent over a bill which pays every single penny of disater aid. However, he left out the fact that the bill requires that the emergency aid be balanced by cuts in other programs. Sen. Alexander isn't that dumb. He knows what's in the bill but, as with other GOP congressional members, he's counting on the public being dumb enough to believe it's simply a bill which pays the aid. It isn't!

    September 26, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  11. Walter

    Once again all the Democrats blame the Republicans and all the Republicans blame the Democrats. It's no surprise that our government is broken. We have huge quantities of the electorate screaming and squawking about how corrupt and incompetent the other side is. Why don't we just admit that these United States of America are no longer united over anything. Democracy will never work when the most vocal part of the population says it will be our way or the highway. Maybe it's time to try something else.

    September 26, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  12. ct

    the tea party is doing exactly what they were elected to do. ....get control of spending. ..and they have done an excellent job of it. ...however, the lazy left seem content to just continue borrowing money like there's no tomorrow.

    September 26, 2011 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  13. Rosslaw

    A common sense solution exists. All federal money ceases to go to the constituencies of Tea Baggers. As long as yet another completely artificial hostage crisis lasts, close their post offices, federal court houses, passport offices, federally supported air ports, everything. Let the Tea Party wallow in the 17th century. And of course, deny all requests for stimulus money which every Republican politician like Perry ($25 billion in stimulus funds) make in order to balance their state budgets while at the same time bashing the stimulus.

    September 26, 2011 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  14. Baxtyre

    God forbid we actually pay for a program instead of just adding it to our tab.

    September 26, 2011 10:15 am at 10:15 am |
  15. Wes

    Pretty misleading headline. A Democratic Senator places blame on the TEA party. Not really news. CNN made it seem like a poll was taken, although those are essentially useless as well.

    All parties are to blame. You either get way too much government from Obama and his cronies or a stalemate to nothing with the TEA party. There is a happy medium. We need to find a candidate that truly represents that.

    September 26, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  16. Byrd

    What did you think would happen when you elected a bunch of tea-slurping, half-wits to Congress...

    September 26, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  17. Rsprings

    The Dems only have the blame game in their play book. They need to look into the mirror. The Tea party Congressmen are enough in numbers to block anything. The Dems have sat on every house bill. They simply want to continue to tax and spend us in to a "Greece" like situation.

    September 26, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
  18. olepi

    Hi Granny! This is the new GOP. Sorry about your house that burned down. We promise to fix it, but first you have to agree to never, ever, buy a hybrid car or help research anything about cars. Sounds fair to us.


    September 26, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  19. abnguy

    Any new spending must include cuts. We cannot have runaway spending going unchecked, we will end up like Greece. There is always a tear jerker story as to why we must spend all of this money we don't have. We need a balanced budget amendment to stop this from happening.

    September 26, 2011 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  20. Ernie

    When ever the democrates can't do what the Obama wants they blame the "Tea Party" what the democrates don't understand the "Tea Party" are not a voting party in Washington there is the Republicians, Democrates and Tea Parry there are only two voting parties the Republician and Democrates. The democrates are blaming the "Tea Party" just like Obama blames former President GWB. The "Tea Party" has nothing to do with the government shut down. It's the politicians in Washington. All the "Tea Party" does is get their guy elected and they do what the "Tea Party" wants them to do, nothing else nothing more. So when senator Warner starts blaming the "Tea Party" in reality he's blaming the democrates and Obama. That's because he has no one eles to blame. The blame game goes on and on. When thing aren't going right for the democrates blame the "Tea Party". The more the democrates blame the "Tea Party" the stronger they get. If senator Warner is up for election he should be very careful on what he says because it can come and haunt him and he could be on the outside looking in.

    September 26, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  21. Sue

    paul said"

    The tea party just doesn't realize that you can't solve the debt problem in one year. There must be a plan over 10 or 20 years to pay down this amount and then congress must stick to it. They are hurting this country and the economy by insisting on pay down immediately.

    YOu can't pay anything down until you quit spending more than you are making and that has to be done now – not 10 years from now. It is laughable to cut 1.5 trillion over 10 years when we are borrowing over 1 trillion a year. Once we have a budget (which we have not had since Obama took office) and it is a balanced budget – meaning every cent the government has to pay anywhere is covered by the revenue they are collecting - then we can make payments on our debt – which need to be included in that budget. I agree it is ok to take 20 years – or even more to pay down the debt we have – but we have to quit spending to the point that we are not borrowing a penny more and are able to make payments to pay our debt down.

    September 26, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  22. ThinkAgain

    @Will: "The bill can be passed without Tea Party votes, Dems just don't want to work with Pubs and vise versa."

    The Democrats don't want to pass the bill because they think it's wrong to release disaster aid money for Americans in exchange for spending cuts targeted at programs the teabaggers don't like.

    It's called blackmail, and the teabaggers and GOP should be ashamed of themselves.

    The obvious solution is to ask the rich to pay a top marginal rate of 39%, close corporate tax loopholes and eliminate the oil industry subsidies.

    But the teabaggers and GOP want to protect that privileged group, even as they work to harm the average American.

    September 26, 2011 10:26 am at 10:26 am |
  23. bearced

    So why is ending big oil subsidies a tax increase but not funding alternative energy the right thing to do?

    September 26, 2011 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  24. John

    Let's cut all Federal spending in the Districts that voted for these idiots. The Tea Party does not really want a functioning government. So, lets test no government spending in their districts to see how it works. And lets pass a bill that the current representatives can only have one term. It would be cruel and unusual punishment to make them serve more since they hate government so much.

    September 26, 2011 10:28 am at 10:28 am |
  25. ThinkAgain

    During the Clinton years, the top marginal rate for the rich and corporations was 39%. During that time, the rich still had plenty to invest in the Internet boom, which launched hundreds of companies. Corporations also had plenty to invest in their companies and hire people.

    If the rich and corporations could somehow scrape by and still have money to invest IN OUR COUNTRY then, well, I'm guessing they aren't going to roll over and die if the current top marginal tax rate was raised from the current 36% to 39%.

    September 26, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
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