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. Pete

    It's not the Tea Party it's not the Democrats it's not the Republicans it's the so call members of congress and the senate, with the president thrown in that don't give a hoot about the American public, all they seem to want is a bigger cushion for their self. Really if you sit back and look it is us who elect self serving pretty boys, and girls who have a bs line that they are the only ones who can fix everything. WRONG. Like P T Barnum said a sucker born every minute, tag were it. Unless we change we are screwed

    September 25, 2011 11:52 pm at 11:52 pm |
  2. ZweiStein

    The only Republicans you hear from anymore are the Tea People. Where are the rest of the Republicans? I mean, we don't even hear anything from Sen McCain anymor. I am to believe that the Republican Party is now totally controlled by TEA?

    September 25, 2011 11:59 pm at 11:59 pm |
  3. Just a thought


    Excellent post...I commend your every word.

    September 26, 2011 12:13 am at 12:13 am |
  4. Russ

    The Republican presidential candidates are self destructing, as illustrated by Perry's debate performance and Cain's success in the Florida straw poll. When the reality that their "chosen one" is going to lose to Obama, because he is too far to the right, sets in, they will probably be in a better mood to be bipartisan. Don't look for any compromise until then.

    September 26, 2011 12:18 am at 12:18 am |
  5. Linda Iowa

    If congressman sign a pledge with anyone or group to have allegiance to the agenda of said group or person is that not treason. Their loyalty is to the country, are they not in effect saying the oath of office does not matter.

    September 26, 2011 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  6. Tony 140

    How can you call a group "extreme" when all they ask of their country is for it to live within its means. Oh, and by the way, they do it peacefully too. I think the likes of Obamacare, Dodd-Frank, Cap and Trade, the Dream Act, the Green scams, Ground Zero Mosque, picking winners and losers in the banking and auto industries, uion pandering etc, et, etc are much more "EXTREME". Oh, and by the way, where might all the hateful rhetoric lie? I really like the Tea Party extremism.

    September 26, 2011 12:25 am at 12:25 am |
  7. Tyler Derden

    I signed a Contract With America not to be a Dill-hole but it turns out I will have to breach my contract to compromise with the tea party due to their contract with Norquist that requires them to be Dill-holes at all times,

    September 26, 2011 12:54 am at 12:54 am |
  8. Keith

    Make unpatriotic multinational corporations pay for the infrastructure and government services they rely upon everyday to make a profit.

    Corporations are people when Texas executes one.

    September 26, 2011 01:20 am at 1:20 am |

    This is a shame to have a fringe group of Tea Party members of the Republican Party that is willing to shut down the gov't.
    We need disaster relief badly, but it makes no since to cut jobs in another program that will lead to another disaster. The Tea Party is nuts and the Speaker John Boehner has to rein these clowns in fast or his one and done!

    September 26, 2011 01:50 am at 1:50 am |

    We all know who is distroying our great country, the tea baggers! The only they know is "no". Our country needs to start moving forward again but the right wing nuts don't want the country to be successful, they only want the President o fail which of course means the country has to fail. Even when 80% of the people want one thing, the tea baggers say no. They do not represent the majority of Americans and we have to vote them all out in 2012. Bring common sense back to America, vote out all rethuglicans in 2012, the answer is very simple, VOTE!

    September 26, 2011 01:55 am at 1:55 am |
  11. mark

    The tea party is to blame what a crock. No I don't belong to the tea party, however they seem to be the only ones with any sense of reality. You have dead or non-producing programs that should be cut, the repubs and the dems seem to want to spend money they don't have on useless things like dept. of education, (every state has thier own), Dept of energy, (what have they accomplished since it's inception). And the EPA, what have they done besides make it harder to create jobs? Why is it so hard for libs and repubs to realize you don't spend what you don't have? Get some of the lazy fakers on SSI and welfare off thier butts and make them work. When I was out of work in the early 70's I worked at livestock auctions, hauled hay, made branding irons, picked up bottles and cans, whatever it took. People seem to be afraid to get thier hands dirty today. I work 5 sometimes 7 days a week and I have about had it with lazy politicians blowing trillions of dollars on useless crap. I personally think the tea party is doing a good job of making people see how stupid our two party system has become.

    September 26, 2011 01:56 am at 1:56 am |
  12. Anthony... proud tax payer

    This gridlock never happened while Bush had a blank check to spend as he pleased(and DID). WHY NOW? Where were all these fiscal responsible out cries then? Raise the debt ceiling in 2005? Sure, why not. Raise the debt ceiling in 2011.. ON NO! Its the end of the world! C'mon.. these TPartiers and Republicans are so transparent, it aint funny. Now all of a sudden some of you care about "spending money we dont have". Yes, we've had a national debt for quite some time now, but why all of a sudden TeaPartiers want to get all up at arms about it and bring our government to a halt, and show the world how dysfunctional their house is is beyond me. Well 2010 voters.. you got exactly what you voted for... now how about we vote them out in 2012 so we can finally start the recovery we voted for in 2008....

    September 26, 2011 02:00 am at 2:00 am |
  13. TS

    I used to think the Tea Party people are genuine in their effort to get the country to address real issues. I am now sure that they are yet another 'party' being manipulated to manufacture major crisis. Frivolous action and then blaming another party is not leadership but politics as usual. I think the tea party people are working hard to re-elect Obama by being so out of touch. They seem to be picking losers, one after another for possible Republican nomination for President. It is about time Tea party disintegrates since it has lost its soul and is now a puppet of rabid social conservatives

    September 26, 2011 02:01 am at 2:01 am |
  14. Robrob

    The Tea Party will destroy the GOP. We can only hope something good arises from the ashes.

    September 26, 2011 02:10 am at 2:10 am |
  15. elle

    The Tea Party is composed of illogical people who are not bright enough to understand finance but only know how to dress up crazy and make total idiots of themselves. They are not what our country is about. The mainstrea, Republicans don't have enough backbone to put them in their place but pander to them instead. Those bargains come back to haunt you! Repubs used to have a little class. At least they knew how to dress. Now the Teabaggers are running the show. Oh this country is reaping the whirlwind all right for not slapping them down at the start.

    September 26, 2011 02:28 am at 2:28 am |
  16. 60minuteman

    Another manufactured crisis from the tea nuts. Cause a crisis & then blame it on the dems. I am amazed by the people that don't, or refuse to, see through this.

    September 26, 2011 03:04 am at 3:04 am |
  17. borisjimbo

    Hit the road, John, and take your baggers with you.

    September 26, 2011 03:25 am at 3:25 am |
  18. Anonymous

    You can blame all you want for the budget but it all goes back to; the budget for this year was suppose to be passed by October of last year. Who was in control of the House and Senate then? Democrates. So let's put blame where blame is due.

    September 26, 2011 04:31 am at 4:31 am |
  19. Jack Kennedy

    It is very simple – increase the taxes on all the people in the democrats districts to pay for FEMA. The democrats obviously want everyone to pay more taxes so they can spend more taxpayers money on government giveaways. Generate the offset that way. Make the democrats puts its TAXNSPEND principles where their mouths are.

    September 26, 2011 05:18 am at 5:18 am |
  20. Franny

    Anyone who really believes the Tea Party members sit down, and pay their bills? Well, folks like that are delusional, and a huge part of what's wrong with this Country! Get a darn clue, and stop just listening to crap on Faux news!

    September 26, 2011 05:19 am at 5:19 am |
  21. mike.s

    "Waaaaaaa. My parents won't let me spend money I don't have. Whaaaaaaa."

    September 26, 2011 05:23 am at 5:23 am |
  22. c.e.

    It looks like the American unemployed needs to march on the Capitol and hold a rally against the teabags who hold our country hostage.While they are there they need to use the citizens arrest on all teabags and charge them with treason.
    They do not have the backing of Americans just the upper 5 percent who hold all the money. We need to chase all the rich out of our country as they are holding it back and with the lowest taxes in decades where are all the trickle down jobs? Just as I thought-more rich republican b.s.! We need the American version of the French revolution!

    September 26, 2011 05:31 am at 5:31 am |

    The wingnut/teabagger trainwreck implosion continues full steam ahead. Which clown will they throw from the clown car next? Romney or Rick Bush?

    September 26, 2011 05:46 am at 5:46 am |
  24. Amber

    When all else fails, the left always blames the Tea Party. They never blame themselves or look in the mirror. The GOP has not had enough power to block everything Obama has done to this country. Therefore, we are still without jobs, energy costs are still high due to the inability to provide our own oil and gas, healthcare looms over the business sector and this Marxist prez THIINKS he's going to make things so bad that everyone will follow his leadership like mindless sheep. The DEMs have always had a spending problem because that is part of their ideology. They believe, and convince others idiots to believe that you can spend your way out of a recession or impending depression. That is so completely wrong. Job creation through friendly business environment and the ability to bring back manufacturing jobs (for the uneducated) needs to be front and center. This adminstration is careening us toward world communism. If you people think things are bad now, just wait when that kicks in. It doesn't happen overnight, but the socialists/Marxists/communists/progressives of this country want everyone to be poor. Wake up, America. The GOP and Tea Party are not to blame for today's woes. They are obstructionists for very good reason. It has been and will always be the tax and spend DEMS with their distorted and failed world view for this country who are to blame. Obama has done everything on purpose. Marxists don't waste crises, they exploit them. What is possibly wrong with demanding cuts in other redundant or less worthy areas of our govt in order to stay somewhat even while paying out disaster funds? Would a regular family in this country have to make similar decisions? To forego one thing in lieu of paying for something more pressing? Damn straight they would and we should expect the same from our govt no matter who is in charge. DEMs want to get us further in the hole and more beholden to China. We must resist this on principle because it is detrimental to the future of this country and certainly puts our national security even more at risk. DEMs have some missing capacity for reasoning and understanding of how things work genes. Anything with a D behind its name will have to go in 2012. America is great because of capitalism and we can't allow some Marxist to walk in an send us back a couple of millenia just to equalize the playing field for all. All this call for unrest is inciteful and irresponsible to the max. The DEMs WILL be blamed for any ensuing chaos because it will they who start it. Peace, please while all this mess gets sorted out.

    September 26, 2011 05:52 am at 5:52 am |
  25. Ohio man

    Yep this is what happens when you Don't vote , or Don't do your research B4 you Vote..

    September 26, 2011 06:02 am at 6:02 am |
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