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. Obama/Biden 2012 -- Because 4 years of FAILURE just isn't enough

    So just WHY won't the Democrats bring this up for a REAL VOTE in the Senate??? Let's get everybody on record on who wants to stop the government and who doesn't. The Democrats have been nothing but a sham from start to finish. They ran the "pay as you go" scam and paid for NOTHING because everything was an "emergency". They refuse to cut spending because everything is a critical, untouchable priority. Democrats are hell-bent on running this country straight into bankruptcy.

    September 26, 2011 12:40 pm at 12:40 pm |
  2. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    That should've read: " busting at the SEAMS". Pardon.

    September 26, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  3. Tim

    Why are they blaming the tea party and not the democrats for this. From what I see is the democrats are the ones refusing to compromise. we need to fund fema, but why not have offsets. Fema is more important than the programs that the tea party wants to cut. IF the dems don't like those cuts then propose their own cuts and stop being the party of no. Our Government is broke!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 26, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  4. joey jamison

    Good, I'm glad to see this. It means that the TEA PARTY is finally getting it's message across–that the government cannot continue on it's present path!

    September 26, 2011 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  5. ken

    Obama is the President of the United States. He should lead, follow, or get out of the way. If he cannot negotiate with the people who were elected by Americans, he should resign! It isn't the Tea Party's fault that the super-majority could not even pass a budget! The Democrat Party lacks leadership! They even said "we have to pass this bill to see what is in it". Just how dumb of a statement is that? It says that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid can't read or write! At this rate, Obama is likely to blame his girls on Bush and the news media will support him!

    September 26, 2011 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. b0bc4t

    When it comes to compromising with the Democrats over MORE Spending .... I would Agree with YOU, but then We'd BOTH BE WRONG! How many ways can you say stop spending without cuts to the Total Budget before the Democrats will put the pen and the checkbook in different rooms and reign in spending......
    How about if we make the Congress pay for the bills from their pocket and request reimbursement after .... If you ain't got it in your pocket, don't spend the money!

    September 26, 2011 12:50 pm at 12:50 pm |
  7. Reading comprehension...the impossible American dream.

    There is so much logical and cognitive dissonance coming from the right these data that its mind-numbing.

    But, I'm fair....I can go along with what the Tea Partiers are trying to accomplish. So, here is my proposal. Since Tea Partiers abhor spending money that we don't have, and insist so vehemently on living within our means, let's do this: let's discontinue the subsidization of Red states with tax dollars from Blue states. That's right. Let's stop sending welfare to Red states that cannot live within their means, and have them get their houses in order. That's right, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Georgia, et al. No more free ride for your states. Quit taking tax dollars from Illinois to keep yourselves afloat. We get about $0.68 in federal money for every dollar we pay in federal tax, but Red states like Alabama get $1.62 in federal money for every dollar they pay in federal tax.

    Hey Red staters....start living within your means. Quit spending money you don't have. Put our money where your mouth is. You probably don't want to do that, though, because even you guys understand those states would go bankrupt in a month without Blue states paying their way.

    September 26, 2011 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  8. TEArrorists are taking hostages again

    The TEArrorists are taking hostages again. Last time it was seniors and soldiers protecting our country this time it’s the unfortunate Americans who have suffered from natural disasters. Our country has always helped its citizens in times of crisis and now is no time to stop. Allowing this group of radicalized extremists to take more hostages is shameful. Lets help our fellow citizens.

    September 26, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  9. Chrisg

    You betcha the TP is to blame. VOTE these right wing extremist out of congress and let the Repubs and the Dems get back to the business of governing.

    September 26, 2011 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |

    Obama is the President of the United States. He should lead, follow, or get out of the way. If he cannot negotiate with the people who were elected by Americans, he should resign! It isn't the Tea Party's fault that the super-majority could not even pass a budget! The Democrat Party lacks leadership! They even said "we have to pass this bill to see what is in it". Just how dumb of a statement is that? It says that Obama, Pelosi, and Reid can't read or write! At this rate, Obama is likely to blame his girls on Bush and the news media will support him!

    Hey there buddy. Do you know what the Legislative branch of the government does? Stop watching Fox Noise, brother.

    September 26, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  11. coy4one

    The Tea Party is a curse! It is a virus that needs a vaccine! The current process of giving them attention because they scream the loudest is bad news for the better good!

    September 26, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  12. obandon

    I agree with the post that stated for all Tea Party areas be the ones to NOT receive funding. If they can talk the talk then they can walk the talk and explain it to the people in their area why they get no aid. Last time I looked this was America the home of the free, we are all free to think and feel what we like, but we should't push those feelings on to others the way the Tea Party and their extremests are trying to do. Comprimise is the answer, let's vot all of them out in 2012. Maybe fresh blood will help, God knows it couldn't be much worse than the idiots in Congress now!

    September 26, 2011 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  13. darkhorserunner

    Keep blaming the teaparty. Fact is through September 15, the Republican House had been in session for 120 days. The Democratic Senate through the same date had been in session only 115 days. In terms of recorded votes: Through September 15, the GOP House had voted 711 times. Meanwhile, across the same period, the Democratic Senate had only 137 recorded votes. So, the allegedly lethargic GOP legislators whose sloth dooms the nation actually are five times as energetic as their indolent counterparts in the Democratic Senate. It's the party of most of the people posting on this thread (democrats) that's the real obstacle to getting anything done. But keep on living in denial. Your in for a rude awakening in 2012.

    September 26, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  14. REG in AZ

    Bipartisanship!!! Isn't that what our government is designed to benefit from? Where is it?? How can they think they are serving anything other than their political ambitions with their belligerent self-focused concentration?? Responsibility v irresponsibility – those blocking all progress in rejecting compromise are rationalizing it as being responsible and what they were voted into office to do ... yet all they really do is corrupt the system and cause worse problems. Anyone who voted for them, who advocates reverting to extremes, should take note.

    September 26, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  15. studdmuffins

    Continuing to demagogue the so-called "Tea Party" is nothing more than partisan bickering from the left.

    September 26, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  16. karen

    The Republicans may be blocking the jobs bill and emergency disaster aid to people who need it, but they are making sure to continue feathering the nests of the extremely wealthy and major corporations because THAT"S WHERE THE MAJOR CAMPAIGN DOLLARS ARE! Your average Tea Partyer is going to be mighty mad when he finally figures out that he's getting completely screwed by the people he voted in. Unless, of course, the Tea Partyers all make at least $250,000 a year, and from the looks of them, I doubt it. They look like everyday, ordinary people who are, unfortunately, gettling strung along by some very cagey people, and some very clever marketing disguised as "news".

    September 26, 2011 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  17. karen

    Oh, and by the way, Mark Warner for President 2016!

    September 26, 2011 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  18. rpd

    "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."

    lol typical teabagger response with a totally delusional twisting of facts with a hint of 'scare tactic'. Do you even know what Marxisim is? Do you know that Marxism came about as a reaction to the total abuse brought about by unchecked capitalism ( slave labor, child labor, hazardous work conditions, etc..). If you have said Communism, then that is the system of government that gets inspiration from Marxism. I would think that the republican party is more communist than the Dems. Why? When BUsh jr. was the president, anything said against him or thw war was 'unpatriotic' and immediate kangaroo court/witch hunt occurs. This is more communist style. Nowadays, Obama or the Dems dont even do that. If Obama is 'Marxist', as you have termed him to be, you would be facing a death squad and a bullet delivered to the back of your head within a few days. Feel thankful that Obama is the president.

    September 26, 2011 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  19. Liz the First

    Here's how you balance the budget, take away ALL federal benefits from every registered republican. they don't want them anyway, right? and for all the folks who regularly post here complaining about us blaming bush for the mess we're in, you can't change history by rewriting it. we're still blaming hitler for the holocaust, because guess what? he still caused it after all these years!

    September 26, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  20. Republicans have dog shovel ready projects for brains


    I can't figure out what is wrong with having budget cuts for Green jobs to offset included additional money for disaster relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the Army Corps of Engineers, I guess the Dems want to make sure their Solyndra friends get all the money they can steal from the taxpayer.

    September 25, 2011 10:09 pm at 10:09 pm |
    Google" Issa and green projects"....results might shock you, but the rest of us see the GOP hypocrisy as par for the course.

    September 26, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  21. worthlesscnn

    Worthless blog is worthless.

    Another LIBERAL FINGERPOINTING snoozefest we all are so sick of and another nail in their own coffin.

    September 26, 2011 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  22. erik60505

    Why is anyone giving the tea baggers so much power?

    September 26, 2011 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  23. Republicans have dog shovel ready projects for brains

    Hey terry in va. Learn some grammar, including capitalization, it might make you look less foolish than you do. Not likely though. If you had a quarter of President Obama's mental capacity, you'd be 10 times smarter than you are. Wow, guess they don't spring for education in your neck of the Commonwealth. Oh the irony of you residing in a "commonwealth"

    September 26, 2011 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Observer with a l-o-n-g memory

    ISome of us need this reminder, much of the present trouble with the economy follows a rather distinct pathway: First, ask why the housing market collapsed in 2007-continuing today–the de-regulation set in place during 1980-1986. Second, ask how that de-regulation played out in the new century–AIG which resulted in the biggest govt. bailout in the history of the US. & unchecked (unregulated) behavior of New Century Financial Corp. in its fraudulent promotion of the sub-prime mort. market & the s.p mortagese it sold world-wide - assuring everyone they had the money in reserve to "buy-back" the mort. which went into bankruptcy WHEN THEY ASBOLUTELY DID NOT. Their "independent" auditors did such a shoddy job that they did not report: NCFC's inadequate acctg. abilities to real-time track the reserves needed to buy them back & they did not report out-right fraudulent claims by NCFC that "everythig in their business was in GOOD financial shape."

    Yes, the disasterously costly military engagements in Afghanistan, then Iraq, and back to Afghanaistan while cutting taxes to pay for these activities....well, that was just unbelievable fiscal ignorance. Even 6-yr. olds know that if you have 15-cents in your hot little hand & bubble gum is 25-cents, you can't have the bubble gum. So the kid goes to Mom & Pop and asks for a raise in allowance, and the parents say, "Well we're gonna cut your allowance & you'lll just have to convince the store to let you have the bubble gum w/out paying for it, but promise to pay the store that your 'allowance' has been cut to make it possible for you to buy more things." Right! and that'll work, because....?

    You have to increase income in order to off-set routine expenses as well as critical emergencies, which cannot be ignored.Just as New Century did not set-aside the appropriate amount to cover mort. defaults–poor accttg. practices & fraud, we have to insist on funding for the 'unforeseen' emergencies. Given the tendency of companies and individuals for explointing a lack of over-sight, we have to insist on a centralized regulatory power (Federal level regulations of business practices) + vigorous over-sight of government programs to prevent fraud–in financial services markets, in medical services, in payments to education systems which receive funds for No-child-left-behind & grants for college.....this list goes on and on. Regulation & fraud prevention are just a part of the routine expenses of government. Emergencies? Well, we don't know when or how bad they'll be, the U.S. we have hurricanes, floods, & wildfires on a fairly regular basis, less often disaterous earthquakes, failing infrastructure (bridges collapsing, etc.). It's all gotta be paid for or saved for. The only absolute truth is: Cooperation (with the freedom to debate different approaches to solutions) in our Federal Government - not tunnel-visioned political posturing - is the answer. Can we say, "Compromise instead of Conflict?"

    September 26, 2011 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  25. dinak

    There would be no stalemate if when the Dems, when they had their super majority had passed a budget. But because they are cowards, and abrogated their responsibilities, they refused to create or pass a budget b/c it was close to election time, and they knew their budget would contain so much waste and corruption that the voters would vote even more of them out of office. So now they blame the Tea Party? The Dems did not pass a budget, plainly and simply – so they are to blame. They made history by ignoring their budgetary duties. They are sickening hypocrites.

    September 26, 2011 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16