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. grayguru

    When are Republicans of good conscience going to disregard the fringe of their party and help govern with responsibility? Presidents Eisenhower and Lincoln must be spinning in their graves. Today's Republican Party has become a petty, self-centered faction with little regard for public good while protecting the rich with zeal.

    September 26, 2011 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  2. Holy Cow

    Do they think the public is stupid? We all know that the Republicans absolute refusal to compromise is because they care more about keeping their jobs than they do about their country. The Tea Party takes revenge on any Republican who refuses to tow the line. Disgusting. What they will soon realize is that there are enough independents who are angry about this and they will not be re-eclected anyway.

    September 26, 2011 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  3. Obama/Biden 2012 -- Because 4 years of FAILURE just isn't enough

    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.
    Florida Joe:

    I guess Obama's multi-TRILLION dollar deficits as far as the eye can see motivated people. Franky, I wish they had gotten elected 40 years ago and controlled the government the entire time. We would not have a nearly bankrupt country with a massive entitlement society. We'd have a STRONG economy, not one be crushed by an over-bearing federal bureacracy.

    September 26, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  4. Ethernet

    What part of no more spending don't the democrates understand? Is it the "N"? or the "O"?

    September 26, 2011 11:59 am at 11:59 am |
  5. Em

    Let's face it. The Dem's had fully power from 2006 til last year and they accomplished nothing, Republicans last year to this year – accomplished nothing, now Tea Party is the blame. At what point do the politicians ever accept any responsiblity? I am so sick of it. It does not matter who we vote it , the same thing happens every time. They don't want to accomplish anything beacuse if they actually did their job they would have nothing to bitch about and the country would be headed in the right direction and they know they would be out a job. Our government is a joke. It does not matter who you vote for. All are responsible and yet they are all useless.

    September 26, 2011 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  6. Mike

    Aw, are the Democrats not getting everything they want again? Poor little babies.
    Once again, they decide to play the blame game rather than realize there are actually people in this country who disagree with them. Lots of people.
    It is the Tea Party's right, no RESPONSIBILITY, to stand up to these liberals and push for what they believe in.
    If you don't agree then you don't agree with our great Constitution that gives them that exact right.
    Maybe if the Dems were a little more worried about the state of the economy and not sure much on their re-election bids they'd be able to see that the Tea Party is someone who needs to be compromised with instead of villianized.

    September 26, 2011 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  7. delilahjones

    Repeal the 20th Century – vote Republicant.

    September 26, 2011 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  8. Mike

    As longas the Tea Party has influence over the Republican Party our government will continue on it's downward spiral. they are the worst thing to ever happen to our political system.

    September 26, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  9. PME

    Spending reductions and tax increases don't seem to getting anywhere in secret or private sessions. How about convening in public?

    September 26, 2011 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  10. Flyboy7588

    Today's Democrat Party is inherently anti-American values. Dump all Democrats including the FRAUD in the White House.

    September 26, 2011 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  11. Sniffit

    "America spoke in 2010"

    Tiresome drivel. America spoke in 2008 as well and we didn't hear any of you standing up to say "hey, the WH and both houses of Congress were given to the Dems...America SPOKE...we shouldn't be obstructing everything and setting brand new records for filibusters, secret holds and other procedural shenanigans." You can stuff your 2010 "shellacking." America also gave the Senate back to the Dems in 2010, but that doesn't seem to matter to you...only what you view as your own victories. The response to 2008 was an absolute refusal to accept the results of the election, promises to not work with the president, promises to oppose anything and everything he tried to do, hope for faioure and promises to "make him a one term president." Independent, reasonable people are learning all about what a gaggle of extremist, fringe lunatics the Teatrolls are and how their racalcitrance, ideological entrenchment and refusal to compromise is grinding responsible governance to a halt and damaging our society. But hey, you keep on hoping people are too stupid to realize it...whatever helps you sleep at night.

    September 26, 2011 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  12. Squeezebox

    The TEA party seems to be out to cause another civil war based on the selfish vs. the needy. I say let's put all the major spending programs (1 billion dollars or more) to a national referendum. Also, let's vote on the taxes and tax cuts to pay for them. The ballots would be lengthy, but the results would surprise everyone.

    September 26, 2011 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  13. Claudia

    If the Tea Partiers and other Republicans have signed a pledge in Congress not to raise taxes and also took an oath to uphold the constitution and serve as a public servant to protect the american people, isn't there a conflict of interest. Which pledge or oath takes presidence. We can't have wars that protect americans without raising taxes....Republicans are playing a game....defending our country and whent he bill comes blaming Medicare and Social Programs. Give me a break!!!

    September 26, 2011 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  14. PA_Resident

    14.7 trillion in debt and they're arguing about who to tax, what to cut and where to spend. It's not Democrats, Republicans or the TEA party. It's the House, the Senate, the President and ultimately all of us. We vote for the person who tells us what we want to hear, not what is best for the country. 2012 will be the time of reckoning.

    September 26, 2011 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  15. Sequoia

    Is there anything funnier than the clearly fake Republican confidence going into 2012? They are petrified and they should be. They have totally third rate potential candidiates, the most hated Congress in US history after only 8 months, a President with pretty good approval ratings for this period in a presidency (compare to Clinton and Reagan who both won reelections in landlsides) and they will be up against the best campaigner in US history. They're screwed and they know it. But keep pretending, clowns. It's funny to watch.

    September 26, 2011 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  16. JOE

    The Tea Party is the new version of Al Qaeda. Homeland Security better keep a tab on America's newest terrorist regime.

    September 26, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  17. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    The Tea Party is dangerous and the GOP is lacking a knowledge of history.
    The Tea Party IS dangerous, and the GOP is choosing to IGNORE history much the same way that Big George in Big D conveniently chooses to ignore FACTS.

    September 26, 2011 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  18. Ahnuld

    Don't blame the tea partiers. Blame those who let TP dtermine their course of action. Allow them (and everyone else ) to threaten to block-vote, initiate a recall, whatever. We allow freedom of speech in this country. We don't have to let them run the country.

    September 26, 2011 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  19. FactCheck

    So the Tea Party wants to cut spending but are insistent on keeping the Bush tax cuts? if that isn't the definition of idiocy, I don't know what is.

    September 26, 2011 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "The TEA party seems to be out to cause another civil war based on the selfish vs. the needy."

    Actually, they just think the first Civil War never ended.

    September 26, 2011 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    "America spoke in 2010"
    No it most definitely DID NOT. Do not try to spin the fact that MOST of America stayed home in 2010 into that America spoke b.s.

    AMERICA SLEPT IN NOVEMBER 2010 is a more accurate depiciton of actual events.
    America spoke in OVERWHELMING numbers in 2008, learned the lesson of silence in 2010, and will ROAR against the GOTeaTard abuse in 2012.

    Obama, the intelligent and pro-America choice in 2012.

    September 26, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. FactCheck

    I guess Obama's multi-TRILLION dollar deficits as far as the eye can see motivated people.

    Those darn two wars and Bush tax cuts and Medicare Part D. Why did Obama enact any of these? Oh wait, that's right ...

    September 26, 2011 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. JEB

    Whatever happened to common sense. The Tea Party is the only one's with common sense. If we do not put a stop to the runaway spending, we are all going down! Can you say Greece. First of all, I feel bad for many of those affected by the floods and fires, but we have turned into a country that expects the Governement to take care of us and bail us out, regardless of what we did to get ourselves into the circumstances, i.e., building in flood zones or building in a wooded area where you have no chance to escape a fire. This is exaclty what the career politicians want, reliance on Government, since that is where they derive their power from. I say pay these peope one more time, with the conditions that they move out of the flood zones, etc. If it happens again, sorry about your luck!

    September 26, 2011 12:33 pm at 12:33 pm |
  24. Anonymous

    TPARTY=POWER BROKERS FOR THE RICH. End congressional welfare throw the tparty bums that make 175k a year for nothing in the harbor with their tea. NO Senior Votes they will trash or eliminate Social Security. Tax cuts for the rich only not for us "little people" Hypocrites!!!

    September 26, 2011 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  25. terry,va

    Good Morning Obummie supporters on CNN "The Official Obummie Campaign Site." Nice to see all the regular crew on this posting. There isn't enough time for me to tell you nor any reason for me to you how wrong all of you are. What we have is class warfare and racial warfare created by Obummie. Instead of proposing a jobs bill that actually creates jobs he promotes class warfare that says millionaires pay less taxes than plumbers, teachers etc. Check the IRS stats and you will see that he is a LIAR. Millionaires pay 20% of the federal taxes and are 0.2% of taxpayers. Their tax rate is double that of any middle class yet Obummie continues to LIE. Next Obummie says "come march with me" envolking civil rights movement tensions. He is dividing this country and this will be the nastiest election of all time. I am tired of supporting his socialist government though my tax dollars. The rest of you will support him because you are either jealous of those that got ahead or you don't want your Obummie handouts to stop.

    September 26, 2011 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
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