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April 19, 2015

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Berkley says no to raising debt ceiling, refuses ‘show vote’

Shelley Berkley

Shelley Berkley

Dean Heller

Dean Heller

Rep. Shelley Berkley has been warning for weeks about the dangers of failing to raise the debt ceiling, but Tuesday night, she voted against a measure to lift that legal cap, in an apparent refusal to participate in what many Democrats have complained is a show vote, designed to allow Republicans to amplify their record of battling runaway spending.

The vote won’t take the issue off the table in Berkley’s expected Senate matchup with Republican Sen. Dean Heller, who has said it would be “very, very difficult” for him to vote to raise the debt ceiling, and almost impossible if it isn’t accompanied by “trillions” of dollars in cuts to the budget.

But it will temper the discourse for the short term, giving Berkley the opportunity to assert the nuanced position of wanting to save the country from financial ruin, but only on the back of a more sound fiscal policy.

She wasn’t alone in her vote. The measure, which sought to give the government an extra $2.4 trillion of wiggle room to avoid defaulting on foreign debts free from any offsetting cuts to the budget, split the Democratic caucus almost down the middle: 97 voted for it, 82 voted against, and seven voted “present.” All Republicans who participated in the vote voted against the measure, including Nevada Rep. Joe Heck.

There are political considerations to be made in these moves: “I voted to raise the debt ceiling free of charge” doesn’t sound the greatest on the campaign trail. But those Democrats who have been stressing how necessary raising the debt ceiling is are taking a gamble in voting against it: If budget negotiators don’t come up with a compromise that also raises the debt limit by early August — that being when the Treasury Department says it can no longer stave off the effects of a crash — and the worst happens, they’re going to have to explain why they voted to economically stick it to the country and its markets.

That matters in Nevada more than other states because of the particular nature of the race. Heller certainly hasn’t suggested he’d be champing at the bit to support a debt-limit increase, but being in the Senate, he also isn’t likely to get a chance to vote on the debt limit until a compromise is reached, since Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has said he thinks the idea of voting on a measure everyone agrees can’t pass is “irresponsible.”

Reid has staged his fair share of show votes pertaining to the budget. But with Berkley on record now as having voted against a clean increase, it won’t do much good to force Heller to take a similar “nay” vote.

At this point, Berkley is the only candidate in that contentious Senate race on the books as having voted on the subject of a debt-limit increase.

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  1. Good move by Shelley. If Dean thought he'd walk right into re-election, he now sees that his opponent is shrewd and calculating. Should be a great campaign!

  2. Heller already voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling when he voted for Paul Ryan's budget.

    Just take a look at Ryan's budget, page 6:

    According to Ryan's legislation, Dean Heller thought the appropriate levels of debt should be:

    Fiscal year 2012: $16,204,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2013: $17,177,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2014: $17,955,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2015: $18,704,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2016: $19,513,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2017: $20,257,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2018: $20,981,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2019: $21,711,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2020: $22,416,000,000,000.
    Fiscal year 2021: $23,105,000,000,000.

    Paul Ryan's legislation mandates raising the debt ceiling to 23 TRILLION by 2021, and Dean Heller said he'd vote for it... TWICE!

    Heller can't have it both ways... if it's "appropriate" to have 23.1 TRILLION dollars of debt in 2021, then he should have no problem voting to raise the debt ceiling.

    He's already supported it.

  3. We are spending $2bn per week on two useles wars and congress is playing politics. Housing prices down again today. Consumer confidece down today. Legislation should be passed to attract manufacturing back into this country. This will be a difficult job because corprate money supports congressmen that vote for offshore cheap labor. The citizens of this country come last except where they are needed to fight or pay taxes. If we stopped trying to play policeman of the world for empire sake the budget would balance itself.

  4. Not sure if anyone sees this, but the Republican Party is rip roaring mad about the backlash they are facing from the Republican Ryan Plan failed budget they passed and are being laughed at about.

    Rather than back away from it, they decided to to triple down on rhetoric and link it with other important business on hand currently facing this nation: The debt ceiling.

    People need to wake up and realize we are all being held hostage by a Republican Party political ideology that is so out of touch with middle class America it is basically unbelievably impossible to grasp. They STILL think they can fly an inferior budget plan to utterly destroy Medicare past America. And they STILL believe the American people want it; ignoring all the up-to-date polls that show otherwise. The Republican Party stance on Medicare is relatively unchanged throughout the years. They want to continue attacks on this program until it is destroyed and will tell anyone anything to achieve that end.

    Now, they intend to put the U.S. into default because they are spoiled rotten brats; miffed because they aren't getting their way; linking the debt ceiling to this stupid inferior Ryan Budget Plan. People need to wake up and realize this Ryan character is not the wunderkind and boy genius he is portrayed. He's just a "face" they picked to throw stuff out there to make it sound legitimate. He's the snake oil salesman.

    To not raise the debt ceiling is basically the same as if I ran up a debt on my credit cards and then notified all of those companies I just decided that from now on I am not going to pay back debts incurred.

    I understand we need to pay back national debts. We need to do it responsibly, not this idiotic Republican Plan of defaulting the entire U.S. with an intention of paying it all back overnight, or just slashing everything in sight to make up for it. It is utterly ridiculous and harmful. To just stop participating will annihilate the U.S. as we know it. Not to mention killing off senior citizens with indifference and neglect.

    I can't wait for the next elections. I am going to do my part and fix things by voting my stupid Congressman (Heck) out for participating in party politic warped ideological madness.

    If people don't have buyer's remorse now, they should start getting it. The American people can only take so much of this idiotic nonsense by the Republicans of pointing fingers at the people who can't defend themselves while ignoring the real problem that the filthy rich have avoided paying their fair share of taxes, military budget cuts, immediate removal of troops from two wars, and ending tax subsidies for big oil. There are other ways, but these common sense methods are a damned good start and should be followed immediately.

    The Republican Party has failed. And they are continuing to fail. I have no faith in them at all. Nor should anyone else.

  5. Shrewd is not exactly the word I use to define the "wanna-be-felon" Berkely. As for raising the debt ceiling, you Dumbocrats speak with a "forked tongue." Just a few years ago, Dumbocrats were solidly against doing so, in particular an Illinois U.S. Senator named Osama Obama. My, how times have changed and so have the hypocrites on the left! "I will close Gitmo." "I will end rendition." "I will end the wars." Lie piled on lie after lie and the hypocrites still worship at Osama Obama's feet. Not only does Osama Obama lie, he expands our military involvement in foreign wars (see Libya), angers and alienates our closest allies and spends money like it's worthless. Oh, yeah, at the rate he's going, it soon will be.

  6. This is what obama had to say when he was debating the issue before he was president.

    "The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. " Increasing America's debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that 'the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

    - BHO"

    Enough said!