Washington, D.C. - Senate leadership crafted a spending deal today that would open the federal government, but the agreement shuts down an opportunity to take real responsibility now for a debt problem that is only getting worse, according to U.S. Senator Mike Enzi, R-Wyo.
“This deal’s answer to the debt problem is to spend more. That’s not a good answer,” Enzi said.
The deal reached between Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., would raise the debt limit through Feb. 7, 2014 and would fund the federal government through Jan. 15, 2014. The deal would also deliver back pay to furloughed federal workers, require income verification for people seeking health-insurance subsidies under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and allow the Treasury Department to use accounting tricks to pay the nation’s bills if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling by Feb. 7.
“I respect the efforts of my colleagues in working to end this government shutdown, however, this deal is yet another promise to work on the problem tomorrow. The past tells us that when tomorrow comes, those who refuse to acknowledge our country’s fiscal peril, will insist yet again on ignoring it,” Enzi said. “I understand that telling people the federal government can no longer pay for things they want is tough. It’s the hard road, but some of us recognize the answer to our nation’s debt crisis is to prioritize, stop borrowing and not spend more than we have.”
Enzi said the need for an income verification requirement for health care subsidies is an example of how ill-thought-out the health care law was in the first place.
“That is a positive step, but it’s a drop of water in the desert wasteland of lost jobs, lost free choice and new spending that characterize the health care law. We need to replace this destructive federal takeover of our health care system with positive, patient-centered, incentive-based solutions and look at ways to reduce the cost of care. Yes, they exist. The president dismissed these ideas and now claims they were never offered, but if he had listened we wouldn’t be in such a bad situation now,” Enzi said.
The measure must pass both the House and the Senate and be signed by the president before taking effect. The timing for votes is unclear, but the Treasury Department says it will run out of borrowed money Oct. 17.