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. Vynn

    I say we end parties in American politics all together. Close both the RNC and the DNC, end primaries, and let every potential politician for any office borrow from a national fund for all politicians, thereby eliminating cronyism and lobby influence of political actions. And get rid of the electorial exists only as a component of an antiquated system that couldn't tally votes electronically, and when the trip to washington from the remotest reaches of the country took months, not hours. I think we should also get rid of the special retirement program for career politians. Let them retire on 401Ks like they are forcing on every one else in government, including the military. I would also like to see term limits on all elected offices.

    September 25, 2011 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  2. James Martin Lee

    I've read most of the comments on here and am
    Proud of what I see. The country is finally waking up to the corporate back GOP/Tea party. now for the others you people must be idots. Look at what these people ran on JOBS and there are none I live in the seventh worse state in the country as far as poverty that's La I get 177 a month on food stamps have you seen the price of food that's not enough you say get a job sure now tell one of these businesses around here to hire me I walk five miles putting in applications and hear nothing back even the local Walmart isn't hiring because the normal hourly workers are all part time getting maybe 32hours so they hire a bunch of par to
    E help to keep pay roll try something else besides blaming the black man in the white house. Just because you don't like him being there he won the election get over it at least his was legal and didn't need a bunch of his daddy's buddy's to put him in lime bush who blew 21trillion dollars that's the surplus clinton built up and another 7 trillion in debt plus those big tax cuts for the uber rich to create jobs but they have done nothing but hog the profits

    September 25, 2011 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  3. GerC

    I am NOT Tea Partyer, but they should be thanked for bringing the debt shame to the fore. I do fault them for their intransigence in refusing to raise taxes on the people that can afford it the most. How many of these millionaires are ACTUALLY creating jobs? Had the gov't been living within its income, there wouldn't be any of these budget confrontations. Unless the debt crisis is solved, we'll go the way of Greece or Zimbabwe.

    September 25, 2011 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
  4. Lou50

    least Bush is not being beat up over it.

    September 25, 2011 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  5. T in Dallas

    Sounds like the tea is not tasting so sweet for the GOP. You elected these fools that are turning out to be the leeches sucking the dung out of the GOP's butts.

    September 25, 2011 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  6. demogal

    Yes, yes, yes. The Tea Party is trying to destroy not only the economy, but the nation as well!

    September 25, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  7. Vader

    Shut it down. When the Teabaggers stop getting their food stamps, social security, military pensions, Medicare subsidy, maybe they'll shut the he(( up and go home.

    September 25, 2011 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  8. Bob

    In Lake County Illinois Tea Party a supporter of Tea Party candidate Joe Walsh has been quoted as saying "In the up coming civil war the intellectuals will be the first to go." This person is a close personal friend of Joe Walsh. The Lake County sheriff Marc Curran is a supporter of the Tea Party. Given the oppression that is happening in New York this weekend on Wall Street it is clear that these people are a danger to our way of life. Just be forewarned. These are dangerous people.

    September 25, 2011 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  9. Jack V

    The tea party has taken this country to the a third world status! They won't be happy until we live in grass huts.

    September 25, 2011 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  10. Bob

    In Lake County Illinois Tea Party a supporter of Tea Party candidate Joe Walsh has been quoted as saying "In the up coming civil war the intellectuals will be the first to go." This person is a close personal friend of Joe Walsh. The Lake County sheriff Marc Curran is a supporter of the Tea Party. Given the oppression that is happening in New York this weekend on Wall Street it is clear that these people are a danger to our way of life. Just be forewarned. These are dangerous people.

    September 25, 2011 07:12 pm at 7:12 pm |
  11. Canuck

    Larry L's post says it all. Here's hoping enough people are listening.

    September 25, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  12. DDanny1

    It's hard to negociate with someone who would let everything be destroyed unless they get the exact terms they want. Everybody knows the story of two women coming to King Solomon both claiming the were the mother of the same baby. Solomon said "I will rip this baby in half and give each of you one half". One women said "That sounds fine", but the other women said "No. Let the other have the baby so it will not die". Of course King Solomon knew the women you would give her baby up to save it from death was the real mother, and the one who see the baby killed just to deny her rival was the liar. It's the same with the Tea Party. They flat out said they would let the country go in to default unless things went the way they wanted.
    We can see there is a very large percentage of our population that can't even understand the morals behind Solomons decision, much less use it in their own lives.

    September 25, 2011 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  13. Larry

    Bush tax cuts didn't do the job in creating jobs. The stimulus package didn't create jobs. Corporations are showing huge profits. So why are they not hiring? Rich people are hoarding money. Tea party, do you get it?
    Maybe it is time to start taxing the rich.

    September 25, 2011 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  14. Pditty

    How dare the Tparty expect fiscal responsibility from the government. Get out of the way Tparty so we can get back to destroying the financial backbone of this nation. What a bunch of killjoys.

    September 25, 2011 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  15. Incredulity

    I find it incomprehensible that teabaggers continue to scream for budget and program cuts at a time when JOBS is the order of the day. Where the h*** were you people when your last president spent TRILLIONS of dollars on wars without purpose and tax cuts for their the Republican party's corporate owners. When you nihilistic simpletons agree that your idiot puppet president was the one who tipped the country into an uncontrolled nose dive before parachuting out, i might start listening to your blathering ideas. On second thought, no, I never will listen to the maniacal rantings of the brain dead

    September 25, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  16. Chipster

    Republicans / Tea baggers criticize government agencies. Perry and Bachmann have been quoted, saying that people can handle their own problems so federal agencies should be shut down. But Perry wasn't too proud to request stimulus fund and he certainly held out his hand for federal aid for wildfire damages! Bachmann shamelessly requested government assistance for her foster children, although she had the money to care for them. She had not objected to her husband's " government handouts" for training his employees and Medicare/Medicaid payments.

    Here's an idea: stop sending government assistance to states with Republican governors! FEMA will have plenty of money to operate if they don't have to send anymore funding to Texas for fire damage, New Jersey for flood damage, etc....We can pay down that deficit in no time at all ! Just cut off the hypocrites.

    September 25, 2011 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  17. kristyc3

    Why is the Tea Party to balme for everything? They are only 1 person 1 vote same as everyone else in congress. Times are changing and the country is waking up to the Socialist agenda of the Democratic party. Get over it.

    September 25, 2011 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  18. John

    All Gov't funding in the Tea party areas should be cut. No more stimilus money in GOP states. No more Gov't run Healthcare for GOP/TEA members and their families in Congress. Since they are against Gov'T funding give it to the people who want it..........

    September 25, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  19. Drogo, who bit the dust

    Whine, whine, whine, both parties are disgusting. Tax cuts for the rich and welfare for the poor. Something is out of balance.

    September 25, 2011 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  20. DB

    Reading the all blog, democrat did nor present any real budget over 800 days and wants to just spend without accountibilty. over 800 billion in stimulus which did no produce anything. Green job companies are filing bankrupcy. Bailing our Union in GM.

    September 25, 2011 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  21. normajean

    DEMOCRATS......2012 !!!!

    September 25, 2011 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  22. CBR

    The Congress enabled the TEA Party to gain power. The fact they chose not to work together to solve the country's financial crisis gave them a foothold. Nothing will lchange until Congress and the President can work together to put the country back on track.

    The 2012 election can wait a few months before we all go crazy about the candidates. It is very hard to believe that people who have taken an oath to represent the people in their districts can be so selfish as to sit on their hands and allow their constituents to go through such terrible times. Not all of the woes can be erased quickly but when people are given hope they react accordingly. This Congress offers nothing but pessimism. Therein lies the basis for the success of the TEA Party. and the anger being shown every day,

    September 25, 2011 07:54 pm at 7:54 pm |
  23. pdx02

    I like the simplistic r comments that "duh, you don't spend money you don't have". Well, duh, do you have a mortgage? You just spent money you don't have. Ever borrow money to start a business? Well, duh, you spent money you don't have. Ever get a car loan? Well, duh..... And so on. Of course, borrowing with no expected return on investment isn't smart, and there are certainly government programs that fall into that category. Borrowing if there is a positive return really isn't such a bad thing. It's just a little too complex for the TP to comprehend, I guess.

    September 25, 2011 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  24. Middle America


    More paralyzing republican splinter-cell antics driving economic uncertainty by attaching yet another radical ultimatum to a routine, widely accepted and expected government procedure.

    It doesn't have to be like this. We can vote the obstructionists out next year. Let's vote the obstructionists out so that human progress can resume. We can vote in courageous, forward-thinking, compassionate individuals who are not committed to dragging the United States into a new dark age. There is a lot of anger and frustration here – and there should be. Turn that energy into votes. Encourage every eligible voter you know to vote. Never take the opportunity to vote lightly. The tea party is what happens when we don't stay informed and make our stand at the polls.

    Vote, people! Vote!
    The people DID vote and they voted FOR the tea Party.

    September 25, 2011 08:02 pm at 8:02 pm |
  25. clark1g

    the old guard of both the democrats and republicans in Congress and the White House are fully to blame for the budget crisis and the entire weight of the crushing debt. The Tea Party wasn't even formed yet when the debt was built. So, all of you in Congress ... stop trying to shift the blame and stop spending what you don't have.

    September 25, 2011 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
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