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. hypatia

    Acting like a bunch of spoiled brats who would rather break the toys than share them. Problem is that the 'toys' are us--to ALL of them.

    September 25, 2011 08:05 pm at 8:05 pm |
  2. Henry Miller

    Actually, the problem is that Dems are so used to wasting other peoples' money they think it's their Constitutional right to go on doing it. When they quit trying to run the country over an economic cliff, they'll get more cooperation from fiscally responsible members of Congress.

    September 25, 2011 08:06 pm at 8:06 pm |
  3. Canadian Jim

    It's about time the media stiopped being "fair and balanced reporters" who try to make it look like they're not taking sides and rekindled the fires of journalism when journalists dug into a story and reported what they found. Sometimes a stalemate is solely the fault of one side's intransigence. There are racist people in America. SOme people in political office are stupid. Do we have to rely on Saturday Noght Live and John Stewart to get the news?

    September 25, 2011 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  4. terry,va

    What don't the liberal dumbocraps understand? All responsible households balance their budget and make cuts to some things to pay for others. We have done this with FEMA for years and years. The dumbocraps are lying if they state otherwise. If you want the country to collapse and go the way of Greece vote for Obummie and the dumbocraps.

    September 25, 2011 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  5. Babawonga

    God some people are so stupid, and yet they still get to vote. The government has done a disasterous job, both Democrats and Republicans, and yet the media spinsters flash another shiney object and the clueless are distracted. Yes, lets blame every bad thing on the Tea Party, which have so few votes in the Senate and House that they couldn't block anything, and ignore the fact that the economy was a disaster before they ever got anyone elected. And lets attack their "crazy" belief that the government should be fiscally responsible. Yes, continue stumbling through your blind believe that the government can continue to have trillion dollar deficits every year and that there will be no consequences. Yes, continue be distracted from the corruption and idiocy of both parties by their lap dogs, the media because that is how they stay in power.

    September 25, 2011 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Money over people

    Let's hold people hostage that have already suffered under crippling mother nature, to take away money from a program that provides JOBS. That way, the wealthy can continue their arrogance over the common man. Sounds like a perfect idea to me!

    September 25, 2011 08:22 pm at 8:22 pm |
  7. AKknight

    I am amazed sometimes. The one thing missing in politics these days are people who will say what they mean and mean what they say. Right now the GOP has said spending more money we do not have will not fly. They passed a bill to fund FEMA and asked for offsetting spending cuts so the deficit does not continue to grow......and they are labeled as political terrorists? For what reason? Because they did something that only makes sense? In any household budget, when money is scarce we all have emergencies, and when they require money, we cut spending somewhere else. The country is broke......period! The silly SuperCommittee has an impossible job.....and if they fail, option B is quite ugly. Especially until they complete their work, things have got to be held.......tight! They said it........they meant it! *sounds of applause*

    September 25, 2011 08:26 pm at 8:26 pm |
  8. Ann

    As the rest of the world spiral into turmoil...
    one thing is for sure... Democrats and Republicans will continue to blame each other and not move one inch.

    I side with the terrorists... the U.S. is the problem.

    September 25, 2011 08:29 pm at 8:29 pm |
  9. mrl

    It is rediculous for Reid and folks to think that we can just keep spending, without cutting somewhere to do so – even on emergencies. If my own house flooded, or had some other problem – I would have to spend to fix it. And if I had to do so, then that means I would have to NOT spend on something else I wanted to do so that I could afford it. This constant block of Reid and others to never want to cut from wasted programs so that we can afford to spend on real emergencies is rediculous!

    September 25, 2011 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  10. Weasley

    The GOP has zero credibility when it comes to fiscal responsibility. Zero!

    The Republican Congress approved two, THAT'S TWO, wars with no concern whatsoever how they would be financed. The Republican Congress proceeded to approve billions, THAT'S BILLIONS, in overcharges for their crony contractors. And where were the Republican budget hawks? [crickets chirping]

    And the idea that disaster relief, due to acts of God, would need to be immediately offset by cuts in the budget is simply ludicrous. Texas just experienced some of the worst wild-land fires in history. Should we now cut school lunch programs to pay for it? The Tea Party would say yes! Thank God the democrats will stand in their way.

    September 25, 2011 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  11. GaryB

    Funny. When the Republicans had a chance to rein in the deficit by cutting special government handouts to the top five oil companies, they voted against it. It seems that government welfare to hugely profitable corporations is OK and requires no spending offsets, but government assistance to people affected by natural disasters has to be balanced. There's something wrong with that logic.

    September 25, 2011 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  12. mike

    I find it funny that republicans are worried about what the tea party is going to do, when they can vote along with the democrats to change what the tea party wants to vote no on. So were is there back bone or do they have one,the little tin soldiers

    September 25, 2011 08:56 pm at 8:56 pm |
  13. rs

    The paralysis the fault of the Republican Party, and specifically their ever more demented Tea Party brand. I remember when the Republicans were the adults; they believed in fiscal responsibility, and not gamesmanship; I remember their support of science, educationand above all the middle class.

    I am thinking it might be best at this point, that if all the GOP/TP wishes to do is play games and halt progress, then perhaps we should keep Gitmo open, and send the whole sorry lot of them there to play games- and let this nation get on with digging out of the giant mess they gave the rest of us.

    September 25, 2011 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  14. p

    It's our own fault. We the people voted these loonies in. We can vote them out.
    TP really only represents the desires of big corporations.
    TP has weakened America. they MUST go.
    We have the power to rid ourselves of these fools.

    September 25, 2011 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
  15. trex God,........I REALLY am starting to hate the TP.

    September 25, 2011 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  16. Chrisg

    This is what happens when you vote for these TP right wing extremist. It is the peoples fault that voted for these nut-jobs if there is a government shutdown. Just like in the debt ceiling debacle these TP right wing extremist so not care for the American people. They just care for the people that give them money.

    September 25, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  17. Shawn

    More Liberal Attacks which serve only to further divide and destroy our country. Sadly most liberals actually believe this stuff having NO idea about what the Tea Party truly stands. POP QUIZ LIBERALS: TRUE or FALSE: If You spend all your Money You will magically pay off your debt?

    answer key: False only by cutting back on spending and paying down your debts can you get out of debt. Adding trillions in spending will not help your economic situation. So those 400 bills the Lib's passed in 2010 didn't help our economy, they hurt our economy. Spending Less is the answer, and I am sorry but thats the truth. By the way, I'm White, make only 35k a year, drive a 15 year old vehicle, have 3 daughters and a stay at home wife, am an Army veteran, have a college degree, and work in the health care industry. Since Obama has passed his health care legistlation I've had to relocate my family to Louisianna in hopes of finding a good job, it isn't going well, as all hospitals in America have shed staff, Shed costs with more to come bracing for what will ultimately be the crucifying of our Health System. If you wanna know why health costs are 'So High', ask Medicaid/Medicare which only pay 40 cents on the dollar average, so that 1,000 ER visit nets the hospital $400.00 2 to 3 months later. Despite the fact that the ER Visit used a Doctor, a Nurse or 2, a Respiratory therapist, an EKG machine, and an Xray, IV needles, Breathing Tx's, and saved your life. But hey all you care about is getting free health care and not having to earn what you get, meanwhile Thousands have lost and will continue to loose jobs and have waisted there college degree's (which costs a ton by the way) in anticipation of this maniacal pipe dream you all have a utopia that just can't exist.

    September 25, 2011 09:23 pm at 9:23 pm |
  18. joeinalabamb

    The Tea Party folks in congress ran on certain things and people elected them. You may not like what they are doing, but they are doing what they said they would do. You demos may as well suck it up until next election and we will see how it comes out.
    I plan on voting for them again, stop spending money we don't have.

    September 25, 2011 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  19. MysteryMove

    It is very simple – cut the programs in the Tea Party districts to pay for FEMA. The Tea Partiers obviously don't want the government projects. Generate the offset that way. Make the Tea Party puts its principles where their mouths are.

    September 25, 2011 09:33 pm at 9:33 pm |
  20. trashcup

    Easy solution – get rid of ALL of them. First reduce their salaries by 50% for the rest of their terms, let them learn how it is out in the real world. Take all of their privileges away – no more free lunch, dinner and golf outings. Reduce their staffs to bare bones. If they did some of that, maybe they would become believable,

    September 25, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |
  21. MysteryMove

    It's fine to seek a BALANCE to our spending, but the Tea Party is using the matter as a way of chipping away at services and policies IT deems wasteful and/or irrelevant. Of course, the Tea Party represents the extreme, far-right wing of the Republican party and DOES NOT represent a MAJORITY of Americans, so their views are NOT the NORM. To them, global warming, universal healthcare, employee rights, clean air and water are simply not important issues. Protecting corporations and the wealthy ARE important issues and their politics confirms that.

    A loud, divisive and corporate-aligned MINORITY should NOT determine the fate of this great country.

    September 25, 2011 09:34 pm at 9:34 pm |

    Tea Party/GOP are practicing political terrorism against the American people. ENOUGH of this lunacy. Vote the traitors out.

    September 25, 2011 09:38 pm at 9:38 pm |
  23. henryKnox

    Sounds like the Tea Party is trying to enforce Pay-Go (pay as you go). By the way, what ever happened to Pay-Go? What an amazing strategy, blame the messenger. Just because the Tea Party happened to stand up and take note of a 14 Trillion dollar debt they are now being blamed for it.

    September 25, 2011 09:40 pm at 9:40 pm |
  24. LMC

    I agree: cut the funding in the tea party districts! If they want funding cut, it can be their funding and they should be more than happy with that, right?

    September 25, 2011 09:44 pm at 9:44 pm |
  25. Gene Cole

    1. Republicans pass a bill to fund FEMA.
    2. Democrats won't consider the Bill, nor will they negotiate.
    3. MSM blames the Republicans.

    Yup, business as usual in the MSM/Leftist/Democrat Bizarro world.

    September 25, 2011 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
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