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. hookiecop

    The last sentence in the last paragraph says it all. We have to stop thinking along "party" lines, and start thinking about what is RIGHT.

    September 26, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  2. TJ1959

    The lack of compromise lays at the feet of John Boehner. When his first temporary bill didn't pass due to lack of TPers and Democratic support; he went back and compromised with the TPers rather than with the democrats, who after all is the other party with the majority in the Senate. If he had gone to the Democrats, who represent 40-50% of the American voters, and compromised with them, they would all be on recess and there would no threat of shutdown. Instead, the TPers, who represent, generously estimated, 10-15% of the voting public, are again holding the other 85-90% of the country hostage.

    September 26, 2011 08:56 am at 8:56 am |
  3. Terry Gloege

    It's about time we quit talking so much about the TeaParty and talk instead about the GOP. They provide food and shelter to this group of rebels who have apparently taken over the party.

    September 26, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  4. joyce

    The tea party is to blame for all that is going on now.

    September 26, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  5. rapierpoint

    For all those that say cut funding for programs and FEMA in the TEA party districts, how stupid are you? Obviously you don't believe in equality under the law. If you want to cut the programs in those districts, then complicate the tax code more and don't collect revenues for those programs in those districts either. Or do you want their money but not give them the benefits they are entitled to by virtue of their taxes?

    September 26, 2011 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  6. Mr.ReapersNeighborhood

    Over a generation of dumbing down and retreating into superstition has brought us to this point. Why deal with a shared reality when you can throw away your mind on invisible friends and voodoo economics?

    September 26, 2011 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. Inrealityhere

    @pdx02 – the Tea Party comprehends quite well. Can you comprehend this: they are tired of the government "borrowing" their tax dollars to fund failed "investments" that NEVER pan out but drain the accounts of those who sweat to make a living while the deadbeats whine about not getting their "fair" share. Come on! You really don't get it?

    September 26, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  8. davey

    so who did you blame when you little demmies had the presidency, the senate and the house and you could't pass a budget? your jobs bill is dead on arrival soetoro!

    September 26, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  9. Zious

    Both the parties are disgusting. They never work together for America. The elected officials bicker and fight every single day of their lives harming the nation in the name of fighting for their cause. This is ridiculous. These politicians should all be thrown in jails for the rest of their lives. Our nation is going down and quickly. The military should take over the affairs of the nation till such time as sense returns to the political system.

    September 26, 2011 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  10. Inrealityhere

    I don't belong to the Tea Party (yet) and I'll bet their are millions of others like me. We are now the new silent majority.

    September 26, 2011 09:20 am at 9:20 am |
  11. Matthew M

    The Tea Party has some valid ideas, but their methods are unsound. Inflexibility is not the way to win the fight. Fiscal responsibility is needed on the hill, but not at the expense of jobs and not at the cost of holding every bill hostage.

    Put the fringe of your party in its place and let's get to work, Mr. speaker. You're not doing a good job.

    September 26, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  12. DaveinCincy

    Everybody should pay...poor and wealthy.
    The needy will/should be taken care of by the charitable organizations and religious, not tax $$.
    Tax $$ are for military and infrastructure.

    September 26, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  13. Mike Buck

    If the Bush tax cuts were working we would be having an economic boom right now. The Tea Party wants a Theocracy as a government and corporate feudalism as an economy.

    September 26, 2011 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  14. J

    Here we go again. In 9 months in power all the TPer's have managed to do is take us to the brink of now two gov't shutdowns and a near credit default which tanked the stock market and caused our credit rating decline. No jobs solution as they compaigned for and no willingness to reduce the debt with both cuts and tax increses which most economists say is needed in combination to make a serious dent.

    Is everyone going get off their asses and vote against extremists next election?

    September 26, 2011 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  15. Middle America

    Tea Party is doing what they were elected to do. Slow down deficit spending.

    September 26, 2011 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  16. John

    Easy fix. Remove California and New York City from the electoral college and then there would not be a democratic party. Why should these out of touch people have any say with the American working people.

    September 26, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  17. Inrealityhere

    Correction: I don't belong to the Tea Party (yet) and I'll bet there are millions of others like me. We are now the new silent majority.

    September 26, 2011 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  18. ggwindsor

    billion,s lost in iraq under cheney no paper work

    September 26, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Creaturz

    Yet another smear attack on the tea party. it's getting old and the provocateurs are getting stupid.

    September 26, 2011 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  20. independent

    The Grand Old Tea Party/ GOTP.
    Anger, Division, Intollerance, Nihilist, Tear-it-down, No Tent.

    September 26, 2011 09:54 am at 9:54 am |
  21. notbobslc

    political terrorism: the new catch phrase of the day. Lets throw the blame around, this side, that side – its all a charade. Why did they wait until less than 10 days left to start this ? Because it works much better at creating he environment for crisis? There hasn't been a budget passed in 2 years yet we have to wait until the last week before a "shutdown" so as to increase the drama and the scare factor. You idiots here arguing that political terrorism is being used are nothing but a bunch parrots, spitting out the garbage that your told is the latest "truth" ! You should be ashamed for being such idiots that all yo can do is accept the news at face value and not question any of the motives, timing or slogans!

    September 26, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  22. jb

    GOOD! That's what the Tea Party was formed for! Somebody has to "stand up" against an out-of-control spending government! I'm thankful that those we elected to the House are standing up for us! Finally!

    September 26, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  23. Sniffit

    "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"

    It's a successful program that is creating jobs and advancing our technology for hybrid cars so we can be a leader in that burgeoning fledgling industry. The GOP is attacking it because it represents a threat to Big Oil. Meanwhile, they skipped over the opportunity to cut $4B in subsidies given to Big Oil while that industry is reporting record profits quarter after quarter during a massive world-wide recession. The whole charade is too obvious to be called anything but shenanigans on the GOP's/Teatrolls' parts. It's ridiculous...even setting aside arguments that offsetting disaster relief sets horrible precedent for the future.

    All the fools saying we're "spending money we don't have"...that's because it was all given to 1% of the country. It's time to take it back so we can meet our obligations. No "fiscally responsible" person cuts their revenue stream without FIRST cutting spending, but that's precisely what the GOP did in 2001 and 2003 with the Bush tax cuts, all so they could create the predictable budget problems they are now using as justification for trying to kill all the programs they don't like. It's been a game of trying to kill the New Deal, Medicare, SS, all along..."gov't doesn't work...see...we broke it!" Real freekin "responsible."

    September 26, 2011 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. George Guadiane - Austerlitz, NY

    Here's my question:
    In light of the fact that we cannot REASONABLY expect to just "bite the bullet" and balance the budget in one fell swoop without bringing great harm to the vastest majority of our citizens, couldn't/shouldn't we try and do it by degrees in a cooperative manner, as a society, as a Country, as a PATRIOTIC Country where all Citizens consider the good and needs of all Citizens in the decision making process?

    September 26, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
  25. Monty Gaither

    The Tea Party would distroy our economy and make American suffer, in a bid to take over the country.

    September 26, 2011 10:01 am at 10:01 am |
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