Last night, Illinois legislators joined their counterparts in the House to vote on the debt ceiling deal, which calls for cutting at least $2.1 trillion in spending over the next decade. The bill passed the House 269 to 161 and Illinois House members voted in a split fashion.
Meanwhile, Republican U.S. Sen. Mark Kirk took to Fox yesterday to blame unfunded wars for the nation's current debt crisis -- except for the ones he supported.
After playing an obstructionist role in the debt ceiling talks, Illinois House republicans were split in their vote on the debt deal. Tea Partier U.S. Rep. Joe Walsh (R-8) admits that conservatives got much of what they were willing to send the nation's economy in a tailspin for, but said it still wasn't enough for him to vote 'yes' because the cuts didn't run deep enough.
"Thank God for these troublesome Republicans that have been sent to Congress. We’ve changed the conversation," Walsh reportedly said. "We have to do something dramatic. And this isn’t it."
Meanwhile, another freshman GOP House member and Tea Party-supported politician, Randy Hultgren (R-14), had this to say about his inability to compromise:
Tonight, I voted against a flawed bill that doesn't go far enough. I've been clear from the very beginning I would not support any effort to increase our nation's debt ceiling if the proposal does not hold true to the values of Cut, Cap, and Balance, as well as enact serious structural changes.
It is my opinion that the proposal approved by the House tonight falls short of what we need to do to put our country back on the right track. By failing to require Congress to approve a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) prior to any further increases in the debt ceiling, this bill does not provide the structural changes that I stated were necessary to earn my support.
When leadership changed the bill on Thursday night to strengthen the BBA provision, that change earned my support; in failing to keep that strong language, I could not, in good conscience, support this bill.
Here's a rundown of how Illinois House republicans voted:
Joe Walsh (R-8), Randy Hultgren (R-14), Tim Johnson (R-15)
Peter Roskam (R-6), Bob Dold (R-10), Adam Kinzinger (R-11), Judy Biggert (R-13), Don Manzullo (R-16), Bobby Schilling (R-17), Aaron Schock (R-18), and John Shimkus (R-19)
One notable person on the House floor last night was recovering U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who went to the Capitol to take part in the critical vote and received a five-minute standing ovation.
The Senate just passed the deal 74 to 26. Both Illinois Sens. Dick Durbin and Mark Kirk were expected to vote yes for the bill. Yesterday, Sen. Mark Kirk made an appearance on Fox Business to discuss the debt deal. When asked what caused the nation's current debt crisis, Kirk blamed unfunded wars, reaching back so far as to blame President Lyndon B. Johnson for "run[ing] the Vietnam War without a tax increase." Take a look:
As Polictial Correction points out, LBJ did indeed raise taxes during the Vietnam War, but even if he didn't, that is not the cause of the country's current fiscal problems. President George W. Bush started the Iraq and Afghanistan wars without funding them, which Kirk supported. He also supported the Bush era tax cuts, which also helped dissolve the surpluses left over by the Clinton administration. So, before Kirk reaches back 40 years to point the finger at LBJ for the nation's current financial problems, he might want to look in the mirror and evaluate the impact of his own voting record over recent years.