Special to the Journal
WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Senate passed bipartisan legislation to reopen the government and prevent a default by a vote of 81 to 18. U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss and Johnny Isakson both voted for the legislation and made the following statements:
U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.:
“I applaud Speaker Boehner, Leader Reid and Leader McConnell for their work to reopen the government and prevent a default on our nation’s obligations. While this is certainly not the deal Republicans hoped for, it is the best deal we could negotiate under the circumstances.
“I agree with my fellow Republicans and the American people that Obamacare is a deeply flawed and damaging law. I remain as committed as ever to dismantling Obamacare before it has a chance to further damage our economy.
“However, defunding Obamacare in the CR was never a realistic goal. Republicans control only one-half of one-third of the federal government, and the president has the power to veto. Shutting down the government only placed undue stress on Americans and on the economy, and lost Republican’s advantage to negotiate on the debt ceiling.
“Our fiscal crisis is the most important challenge we face. While I don’t believe Congress should allow a potentially catastrophic default by the federal government, I do believe that any increase in the debt ceiling should have come with policy reforms and assurances that future spending and deficits are being addressed in a meaningful way. If Republicans had chosen to use the debt ceiling as an opportunity to force action on our debt and deficit, we could have won more spending cuts and significant reforms to entitlements. Instead, we took no concrete steps toward reducing America’s public debt, and simply preserved the spending cuts we won in 2011.
“For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy. We will have another opportunity to address the debt ceiling in the coming months, and I hope my colleagues across-the-aisle and across-the-capitol will stop the partisan posturing and begin working together to retire our nearly $17 trillion debt.”
U.S. Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga.:
“These past few weeks should be a wake-up call. It’s time that Congress gets back to doing our job of budgeting, appropriating, and conducting oversight to address our unsustainable debt and deficits. That’s why I have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act, with Sen. Shaheen that would reform our nation’s broken budget process and restore fiscal discipline.
“Today’s bipartisan agreement reopens the federal government through January 15 and sets up budget negotiations between the House and Senate for a long-term spending plan. I’m pleased that the bill averts a default while preserving and protecting the historic government spending cuts from the Budget Control Act of 2011 that have resulted in the largest spending cuts in 50 years. I am also very pleased that this bill will help prevent fraud and abuse by strengthening income verification measures to determine who will be eligible for subsidies under Obamacare.”