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. Sorensen

    They are all a bunch of irresponsible, incompetant idiots. They should all be fired without pension, and a new third party
    established. New elections, new government, new future for the USA.
    Fat chance,

    September 25, 2011 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  2. john

    Spending money that you do not have is crazy and extreme. Why are you calling names toward those who are fighting this madness? President and democrats say that republican drove the country into a ditch. If you look our economic situations now, I can surely say that President and the democrats are digging a deeper ditch on purpose and so that we the people would not be able to get out of the ditch any time soon. Stop digging this ditch any deeper than necessary.

    September 25, 2011 05:23 pm at 5:23 pm |
  3. Mike

    Blah Blah Blah It's all your fault. sniff sniiff whining whining. They won't let me play with all the toys. Boo sob sniff.

    September 25, 2011 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  4. Me

    Hahaha! Capitalism = epic fail!

    September 25, 2011 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. An American

    All those of you who keep bad-mouthing Republicans and the Tea Party seem to think that spending more money is the end-all answer to creating jobs and reducing the one seems to have any suggestions about where that money is going to come from. Taxing the rich into the Poor House wouldn't even make a dent in the deficit, especially since the idiots who would pass the spending bills would just keep on spending until America was totally on its knees. Or, maybe we should just fire up the presses and print a whole bunch more funny money at the mint.

    September 25, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  6. roro

    I agree with delilah jones and plb. Cut all funding to the districts of tea party representatives. They keep saying government should stay out of their business, so let's do just that. Let's see what happens then.

    September 25, 2011 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  7. bilk7

    These obstructionists should all be voted out if they continue to refuse to work towards fixing the country's problems. But how much more damage will they do to our country until those elections come?

    September 25, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  8. Dennis

    If the Teabaggers are so concerned about the deficit, lets just add up all the deficits incurred under Republican Administrations and divide it by the number of Republican voters and send them a bill. Do the same for Democrats, problem solved.

    September 25, 2011 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  9. John Rogers

    This is exactly how the process is supposed to work. We threw out a historic number of Democrats in the last election because they are irresponsibly spending this country to death. We hired the Tea Party to do bail us out and we love them for it. They are true patriots and Americans.

    September 25, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. Jeff - Sarasota, Florida

    If they want to make cuts they should make cuts in their salaries, considering they aren't getting anything accomplished anyway... Between "not" working to resolve the economy or anything else, and wasting time running around campaigning instead of doing what they were elected to do, it seems there is no reason they should get paid at all... It amazes me how they are so "in touch" with the working class people yet the"real"working class people in this country EARN their money by doing thier job, or they don't get paid and get fired if not!!!

    September 25, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    So long as the Dems continue to demand the right to go on spending the country into bankruptcy, responsible members of Congress will continue to try to stop them.

    September 25, 2011 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  12. Esme


    Freaking PASS a budget. Do you freaking jobs you worthless members of the House AND Senate. Democrats – Republicans, time to stand together and HOSE those that are hosing the American people. We do not have the option of "shut down" Get it DONE!

    We voted you in to protect our interest – not to destroy with spectacles and maneuvering. ENOUGH!!!!!!

    September 25, 2011 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  13. ambrosec

    Remember VOTE. Put some of these uncooperative, mean spirited full time politicians on unemployment.

    September 25, 2011 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  14. Esme

    And to all you flying un-educated Americans on here : READ and LEARN about Marxism and Socialism.

    You clearly have no flying freaking clue what it is.

    The Democrats of this country have absolutely nothing to do with this ideologies. If you say otherwise you simply are displaying your complete ignorance.


    September 25, 2011 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  15. reeba

    everybody's fault – – EXCEPT any Democrat.

    The bias on this blog is hysterical, hypocritical, ignorant, biased and hateful

    September 25, 2011 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  16. carly

    Everyone with half a brain knows who is to blame for constant obstruction, lies and misinformation. Here is a clue for anyone who may still have a problem figuring it out. It is the GOP/Tea Party right wing nuts.

    September 25, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  17. TEA PARTY Mike

    Senate Democrats are going to shut down the government because they insist on borrowing 1.5 billion to the auto companies to make small cars that are not selling well. Why do they need a government loan to make any autos. The best sellers for GM, Chrysler and Ford are SUVs and trucks. They don't have to borrow from the government to make those. If they need to borrow, let them borrow from private banks. If the prospects of these small cars selling is not good, the banks won't borrow them the money and neither should the government. If the prospects are good the private banks will lend the money. This should not be a function of the government. And the Democrats are willing to shut the government down over this? Time for every last progressive to go. 2012 will not come soon enough.

    September 25, 2011 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  18. BENJI

    Wonder why the teabaggers wont protest the tax cuts to the rich that havent provided jobs yet?

    September 25, 2011 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  19. Garyd2

    History has shown that the republicans are behind every failure in the history of the USA, now they have a bunch of tea bagger idiots to go along with them. Vote all republican and tea baggers out of office in 2012.

    September 25, 2011 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. TEA PARTY Mike

    If Senate Demcrats shut down the government over insisting on 1.5 billion in loans to auto companies, the Democrat party will destroy it's self. I am certain a majority of voters do not want the government to make those loans to the auto companies and support the cut. Democrats might as well not even bother to show up in the 2012 election if they shut down the government over defending loans to auto companies.

    September 25, 2011 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  21. scottf

    The Tea Party is definitely partisan. But it is even something more sinister: They just don't know anything. They as a group are not very knowledgable about much including FACTS.. These are the I want to drink a beer with my President and I am as smart as he is Group. Personally I want my President a lot smarter than I am and I am pretty bright. Listen to the Republican debates and think with your brain and not with your crotch and you will realize what I am saying. This is the " Box of Rocks" Party, nothing more and nothing less.

    September 25, 2011 06:30 pm at 6:30 pm |
  22. tanemch

    I'm with PLB and delilah jones in cutting disaster funding to Tea Party districts and, while we are at it, how about the House and Senate sharing the burden and taking a "paycut" while the rest of us are getting a "haircut"

    September 25, 2011 06:32 pm at 6:32 pm |
  23. New England Independent

    We the people are at fault for continuously voting into office rich people. Rich people only care about rich people irregardless of their political party and all the social causes they claim to care about. Yes it's a pipe dream but it would be nice to see the hard working middle class people of this country rise up and vote themselves into congress. We might do a better job fixing this country

    September 25, 2011 06:36 pm at 6:36 pm |
  24. Tea or Cool Aid?

    Its super to see the "Tea Party" continue to cripple the republican party. It seems that everyone I know now associates extremism, inflexibility, and hypocrisy with the republicans.

    September 25, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  25. bannister

    So the Tea Party which is only 2 years old is responsible for our budget crisis? What's our excuse for the other 200+ years?

    September 25, 2011 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
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