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. mabel floyd

    the republican party is dead and the nutty tbaggers are in control. this party has not passed one bill-except bills governing sex and to control the behavior of women. they are a bunch of loosers, but remember people they were VOTED IN. a lot of people are laughing at the possibility of one of the republican nuts being elected and thinking "no way"-but look at who is in congress destroying our country. don't laugh the same people are voting this time as when this congress was seated. the republican party is dead. it exsists no more. the tbaggers have taken over. watch out people-our country's future is in danger.

    September 26, 2011 10:29 am at 10:29 am |
  2. sdjim

    There are services that ONLY the government can do. When it comes to FEMA, the essential service that they perform is one that does not deserve the delay or even the mear thought of no funding. The burden that this agency performed under this year has been extrordinary. And it's performance has been done with preparation rather letting the natural disaster occur and then form a plan. I, for one, have gratitude and admiration for FEMA. Waiting for a forseeable disaster to occur became another disaster and eventually a tragedy as illustrated by Katrina's assault and rampage through New Orleans! After watching that tragedy develop, it's clear that Congress should not delay any funding that FEMA needs only because a small group of congressmen can't understand reality. And I'm convinced that the natural disasters we've seen this year are going to continue and maybe increase not only in within the borders of the US but all over the world. If Mother Nature had a reason to get angry, she is just warming up. As she becomes more and more angry because of global warming and climate change, FEMA is going to become even more of an essential government agency.

    September 26, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  3. Mickey

    "and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." I'm thinking that it's starting to perish in this country.

    September 26, 2011 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. Mollybee

    We are all sick of the Tea Party and the fact that the GOP has let them take over their Party. The extreme right-wing is dangerous for our country and for everyone in it. The retired people who are the TP's base have absolutely no sense and too much time on their hands. They are contradictory in their poliical stances and appear to have no knowledge other than to repeat those nasty little sound-bites that support a right-wing extremist agenda. I watched Bill Bennette on Meet the Press yesterday support Paul Ryan as a possible Presidential candidate. Now wouldn't that be just peachy, creamy!

    September 26, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  5. Jason

    My company is on a budget too but it doesn't look for somebody to fire everytime a server breaks unexpectedly and they have to buy a new one.

    September 26, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  6. ThinkAgain

    @Sue and all you others screaming about how we have to not spend more than we take in:

    Were you this upset when Bush pushed through his tax cuts (using reconciliation) during wartime, which, along with unfunded Medicare Part D, guaranteed the Clinton surplus would go up in smoke and create a huge deficit?

    Were you upset when Cheney in 2004 went on all the Sunday talk shows and said "Deficits don't matter"?

    Lastly, have you ever studied economics or history? Government investment in infrastructure and providing economic stimulus is the best method for turning around an economy. Working people spend a much greater part of their income, which results in demand, which then leads to more production and hiring.

    The Republican strategy to funnel all our wealth up to the top 1% of Americans results in foreign investment, the closing of American factories and the laying off of American workers.

    Who's side are you on? The Democrats who want to invest here, or the Republicans who are using us to finance their global expansion, and to hell with the US?

    September 26, 2011 10:34 am at 10:34 am |
  7. Sniffit

    "Any new spending must include cuts. We cannot have runaway spending going unchecked, we will end up like Greece."

    You have it backwards. What sent Greece careening over the cliff was that in response to the economic crisis, they made way too many cuts that were way too deep and they did it all way too fast. This "Austerity Fever " crap is a recipe for disaster and is not even remotely designed to help stabilize the economy or bring it out of recession...any expert economist will tell you that.

    September 26, 2011 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  8. PJ

    Whatever little credibility the House of Representatives had is gone since the 2010 elections and the 82 new Congressmen arrived. They are more concerned with their egos than the people of our country.

    September 26, 2011 10:38 am at 10:38 am |
  9. David M

    Let's start assigning blame for this mess rather than actually fix it. If anyone in Congress wants to know who's to blame, all they have to do is look in the mirrior.

    September 26, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  10. ThinkAgain

    @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."

    I couldn't agree more. Voting for a teabagger to run government is like hiring someone who hates kids to babysit your children.

    September 26, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    We are reaping the "rewards" of our November 2010 vote.
    We invited the enemy back into our house to finish their raping and pillaging.
    My 401k has since plummetted, and ANY improvement to the economy has come to a screeching halt.
    The Tea Party are now working on pedaling back any progress that had hitherto been achieved.

    No one to blame but the easily duped braintrusts that voted these people in last November 2010, and those that sat that election out thinking that it wasn't that important.

    September 26, 2011 10:41 am at 10:41 am |
  12. Big George in Big D

    That's just plain bull crap! No one is to blame but this high faluting POTUS and congress that think they can just spend, spend, spend – without paying for it!

    September 26, 2011 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  13. S. Dogood

    Anyone who believes that a "Greece" type of economic crisis can happen in the United States is dumber than a bag of hammers. If you issue all of your debt in a single currency AND you print that currency you can NEVER default. We may have rampant inflation but we will not default. Greece is in the position of default for only 1 reason: they gave up their sovereignty as a nation when they agreed to give up their currency for the Euro. The only way the United States will ever default is if 1 of our political parties purposely forces us to default for their own political gain. Of course, that could never happen. That would be Treason. We execute Traitors.

    September 26, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Big George in Big D

    @dominican mama for Nobama – as usual, you don't know what you're talking about! You had a democratic POTUS, House and Congress and they DID ABSOLUTE NOTHING! So, don't blame the people that are tired of the usual spending without paying!

    September 26, 2011 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  15. katiedid

    The GOP has stated it wants to eliminate many government agencies and departments. Denying funding to some without budget cuts to others is surely a step in that direction. Someone in the GOP must explain the consequences of smaller government in a huge nation with hundreds of millions of people. All I can grasp from the GOP lately is simplistic rhetoric and no common sense.

    September 26, 2011 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  16. Obama's DOG has created more SHOVEL READY projects than Obama's FAILED Stimulus Plan

    It the same old story, the Democrats just want to keep spending MONEY WE DO NOT HAVE. They simply refuse to act in a fiscally responsible manner. If more money is needed for disater relief, then so be it. But you MUST find that money somewhere else in the form of a reduction of other NON-PRIORITY ITEMS. The Democrats just love to claim EVERYTHING is an emergency and a priority so nothing elver gets reduced and we keep borrowing until there is no more to borrow.

    I applaud the Tea party for re-instating SOUND FISCAL POLICY to an out of control Democrat government. Enough of reckless and irresponsible spending madness that will bring us to where Greece is today, the verge of bankruptcy.

    September 26, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  17. Jay

    A $3.7 TRILLION proposed 2012 budget with a $1 + trillion deficit and Democrats say that they can't reallocate a few billion. Countries all over the world are on the brink of default and the liberals want a blank checkbook.

    Pure stupidity

    September 26, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  18. Steven

    So the mighty GOP is run by "a small group within the House of the tea party crowd." How sad. But it must be nice to be able to blame someone and take no action instead of standing up for what is needed by the country. I do not care if you are GOP, Dem or some fringe group, work together like you are supposed to .... and the people expect you to.

    September 26, 2011 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  19. Obama's DOG has created more SHOVEL READY projects than Obama's FAILED Stimulus Plan

    You have it backwards. What sent Greece careening over the cliff was that in response to the economic crisis, they made way too many cuts that were way too deep and they did it all way too fast. This "Austerity Fever " crap is a recipe for disaster and is not even remotely designed to help stabilize the economy or bring it out of recession...any expert economist will tell you that.
    What planet do you live on? Greece can't afford itself and now nobody wants to lend it any more money because their socialist policies have run them to the end of the money line. It is EXACTLY what they (Thatcher?) said was the main problem with socialism, sooner of later you run out of other peoples money to spend. It is eihter cuts or total collapse. So you are advicating for total collapse. Typical leftist lunacy.

    September 26, 2011 10:56 am at 10:56 am |
  20. AmesIA

    As a history lesson – the ORIGINAL Tea Party was a reaction to the crown giving preferential tax treatment to the East India Company over the other independent importers. It was about people having a say in that matter. Fast forward 240 years and ask who panders to the proverbial East India Company in its 21st century form. The Chamber of Commerce, Exxon-Mobile, Citibank, Halliburton. Perhaps the King could have headed off the revolution by calling the supported loyalist businesses "Job Creators".

    September 26, 2011 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  21. Sonnie2

    The real stale mate should be seen as when do we wean everybody from the tit of the federal government. Where do you stop spending money you do not Have? The Tea Party is on the road to recovery and the libs don't see it. The libs will spend untill we are in a revolt like Egypt or one of the other foriegn country that are a harbinger of things to come. We
    are hanging ourselves with our monitary policys and the noose is getting quite uncomfortable. Our current administration has no long term goals, Just short term policys to get votes to keep their ruleing statis of the elitle that have yet to feel
    any effects of the on coming depressions.

    September 26, 2011 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Thomas Rice

    the reality is the government needs to stop spending money like its water running off a glacier! Almost anyone has to budget their money, if you have incidental expenses something has to give to cover the cost, you cant just keep borrowing money to live day to day,,, eventually the bill is going to come due and you wont be able to pay it, this is common sense, I know Im not willing to have to pay more taxes to cover the indiscressions of the politicians in washington, I didnt vote for most of them,,,

    September 26, 2011 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  23. Sonnie2

    The stalemate is all to do with/Where are we going to get the Money? More printing, More Borrowing, More,Quantitative easing, More Tax? As we all well know that the government cannot give to anybody one darn thing that the government does not first take from somebody else. And when somebody else runns out of money it is the beginning of the end of any nation.

    September 26, 2011 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. Scott Carpenter

    Why is the news line here focused on a Democratic Senator blaming the tea party? The facts are that the House is where the spending bills originate, in accordance with our Constitution. The result of the 2010 mid-term elections was that the People over-whelmingly elected fiscal conservatives to the House. That's because Americans actually WANT the government to reign in their spending habits. Members of the Senate may, of course, choose to agree or disagree with their counterparts in the House. It is really a shocking surprise that Dem. Senator Warner doesn't agree with what the House is doing? Is that really even news worthy? No. What is news worthy is that Senators like Mr. Warner just don't get it. The democrats plans have failed. All they seem to know how to do now is block, block, block the wishes of the People, and blame, blame, blame someone else.

    September 26, 2011 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  25. A Central Bank Executive

    As a central banker, I believe the only people in Washington showing any fiscal discipline and demonstrating the political will to reduce spending and our national debt are the newly elected members of the Tea Party --and they are being skewered by the mainstream media and both GOP and Dem alike. Since all sides are attacking them, I suspect that their course is the right one for the country, albeit a political unpopular one. I think we need more Tea Party members. Clearly Harry Reid and Obama remain hell bent on the tax and spend approach, and that path leads straight to a Greece-like failure and a catastrophic even for the US

    September 26, 2011 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
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