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Blumenthal Will Vote ‘Yes’ on Budget Deal

by Hugh McQuaid | Dec 16, 2013 5:46pm
(9) Comments | Commenting has expired
Posted to: Congress

Hugh McQuaid Photo

Sen. Richard Blumenthal

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said Monday he intends to vote in favor of the two-year budget deal passed last week by the House and expects enough Republicans to join him to clear the Senate’s 60 vote threshold.

The budget agreement was negotiated by congressional leaders from both parties and passed through the Republican-controlled House overwhelmingly last week. The proposal seeks to avoid another government shutdown and scales back some of the automatic budget cuts scheduled under sequestration.

However, support for the deal is expected to be closer in the Senate where the Democratic majority will need some support from Republicans in order to pass the bill with 60 votes. Blumenthal, a Democrat, said Monday he expects the deal will pass the Senate this week with close to, if not every Democrat, and a some Republicans voting for it.

“I think Republicans ought to share the same interest we all have in ensuring that we avoid the self-inflicted, manufactured crisis. We can’t lurch from one fiscal cliff to another, one shutdown to the next. We need to avoid these self-inflicted crises and harms to the economy. I think Republicans will share the view that this budget is far from perfect but a compromise that advances us and avoids the kinds of crises that we’ve seen all too often,” he said.

Blumenthal called the bill a “far from perfect” compromise. He and other Democrats would have liked to see the proposal include an extension of long term unemployment benefits. The emergency unemployment program is set to expire this month.

Here in Connecticut
, between 20,000 and 22,000 unemployed residents could claim their last unemployment benefit payment on Dec. 28, three days after Christmas, if Congress does not act to extend the program. However, unemployment is not among the issues addressed in the budget agreement.

U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro was the only member of Connecticut’s congressional delegation to vote against the budget bill. In a press release, she said her vote was in large part based on the bill’s failure to address the unemployment insurance issue.

“Most troubling is this bill’s failure to extend unemployment insurance for the millions of long-term unemployed, during the Christmas season. Federal unemployment insurance will expire on December 28, throwing 26,000 in Connecticut into a desperate state. It is unconscionable for Congress to go home after leaving such critical work undone,” DeLauro said.

Blumenthal said he would be supporting the bill “with some reluctance because it is a compromise and avoids the continued sequester cuts, the slashing, across-the-board cuts, in favor of smart cuts.”

In a statement, U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy said he also intends to support the budget bill, even if it is not the legislation he would have written.

“This budget deal will spare our country from another senseless government shutdown and from even more automatic budget cuts scheduled to take effect in January. It also begins to roll back those damaging sequestration cuts over the next two years. That is welcome news in Connecticut, where tens of thousands of defense jobs hang in the balance, and countless other education, medical research, and infrastructure investments are threatened,” Murphy said.

Both senators said they intend to keep working on the unemployment issue. Blumenthal said he hopes to see a bill passed to extend the emergency benefit early next year.

“I think extending unemployment insurance is critical not only to the men and women who have been out of work for so long in record numbers but also to our economy. We need higher levels of consumption that come with the extension of unemployment insurance,” he said.

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(9) Comments

posted by: jim black | December 17, 2013  1:12pm

If the Democrats would just reverse every thing Obama did to ruin the economy they wouldn’t have to be worried about long term unemployment would they?

posted by: gutbomb86 | December 17, 2013  2:04pm

gutbomb86

Yes, Jim! Let’s go on back to the GWB policies that caused the bottom to drop out entirely. Brilliant!

posted by: JAM | December 17, 2013  2:57pm

Gutbomb,
Actually it was the Dems like Barney Frank that got the ball rolling by forcing the industry to loan money to unqualified borrowers.

posted by: gutbomb86 | December 17, 2013  3:20pm

gutbomb86

@JAM - yes, it was Barney Frank who launched us into two overseas wars, unpaid for and including one that was based on false pretenses and served to bankrupt the nation. And yes, it was Barney Frank who was earning commissions on all those home sales to obviously unqualified buyers. And it was Barney Frank who slashed the federal regulatory capacity down to nothing in every department. And it was Barney Frank who forced our gas prices to record highs by destabilizing the middle east so completely and continually that we’re still paying those ridiculous prices today.

Is there anything else you want to pin on Barney Frank? Did he break your heart at the prom as well?

Just spare us the nonsense. The facts are obvious. The economy bottomed out at the end of W’s term and is still recovering, albeit slowly. If you can’t see that then you’re looking through partisan blinders - something that’s typical of these comment threads. No presidency is perfect but we’re moving in the right direction economically. That’s what the evidence suggests. I haven’t forgotten that, and clearly neither did the voters.

posted by: AMDC | December 18, 2013  9:09am

Looks like Blumie is falling right into lockstep with the party elites.  Another crusader bites the dust. Partisan politics and lack of scruples will be the ruin of our great republic. God help us all.

posted by: Sol | December 18, 2013  4:15pm

AND, he voted “no” (so did murphy) to the amendment (H.J.Res.59) preserving the pensions of retired military and DISABLED retired military. 

http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=113&session=1&vote=00280#state

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d113:HJ00059:

posted by: justsayin | December 18, 2013  7:28pm

Gut please keep it coming. Good be to see someone with passion and blinders carry-on like you do.

posted by: gutbomb86 | December 18, 2013  10:32pm

gutbomb86

@justsayin - there’s zero passion here, and zero blinders. You can’t really argue with what I wrote, apparently. No, there’s no passion. Just exhaustion and a sad resignation to the fact that a lot of conservatives can only resort to personal attacks when presented with facts about the abject failure of the right wing ideology, particularly in how it has been executed as public policy.

This is the ride they put us on and now you’re suggesting that I’m the one carrying on, when you and your pals essentially monopolize the comment threads on this site as a kind of whining wall of victimization. It got old a long time ago.

posted by: justsayin | December 19, 2013  7:46am

Gut why argue, your opinion my opinion that what makes this work.