Freedom First Society

Issue:  H.J. Res. 98 Disapprove raising Debt Ceiling.  Relating to the disapproval of the President’s exercise of authority to increase the debt limit, as submitted under section 3101A of title 31, United States Code, on January 12, 2012.  Question:  On Motion to Proceed to Consider.

Result: Rejected: 44 – 52, 4 not voting.

Bill Summary:  H.J. Res. 98, if enacted into law, would have prevented an increase in the national debt ceiling.

Analysis:  As part of the debt ceiling deal agreed to in August (see House Roll Call 690 (S.365) (8/1/11) Budget Control Act of 2011, the debt ceiling would be raised by $2.1 or more in stages corresponding to agreed cuts in ten-year spending. This amount was expected to tide the federal appetite over until after the 2012 elections.

However, the agreement also included a disapproval process for the interim debt increases when the debt threatened to bump against the ceiling. The disapproval process had little teeth. Congress (i.e., both houses) would have to enact a joint resolution disapproving the increase to block it – an unlikely event with the Republicans controlling the House, the Democrats the Senate, and the White House able to veto the resolution.

So the almost unanimous vote by Senate Republicans to block the debt increase was mostly posturing. However, we give credit to the two Democrats (Joe Manchin from West Virginia and Ben Nelson from Nebraska) who bucked their party leadership and registered their disapproval of raising the limit.

We have assigned (good vote) to the Yeas and (bad vote) to the Nays. (P = voted present; ? = not voting; blank = not listed on roll call.)

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