Roby votes against compromise

Published 11:54 pm Monday, August 1, 2011

U.S. Rep. Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) voted against the debt ceiling compromise bill Monday night.

The measure passed the House 269-161 in a roll call vote.

Martha Roby

“I was unable to support this legislation because, after a careful reading of the bill, I fear it could ultimately result in devastating and unjustified cuts to our national security,” Roby said in a prepared statement released by her office. “This bill, unlike previous proposals I supported, has a weak firewall against potentially destructive defense cuts. To be sure, there are savings to be found in the Pentagon’s budget, and I have already voted this year to trim wasteful and unnecessary defense spending. But this bill goes much too far. The legislation would use our defense budget as an insurance policy to guarantee savings in the event that the special joint committee, which this legislation creates, fails to achieve cuts in other areas

of the government bureaucracy.”

Roby was one of two representatives from Alabama to vote against the bill. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) also voted “no.” Rep. Terri Sewell, Rep. Spencer Bachus, Rep. Jo Bonner and Rep. Mike Rogers all voted “yes.”

Bonner said that the bill “is far from perfect” but will begin to put the country on sound fiscal footing.

“Let’s be clear. This plan is not the end, but it is an important first step — the first in my lifetime — toward putting the brakes on runaway spending,” Bonner’s statement said.

Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Mobile, said he will oppose the proposal when it comes before the Senate at midday Tuesday, while Jonathan Graffeo, a spokesman for Sen. Richard Shelby, R-Tuscaloosa, wouldn’t say how Shelby would vote.

The compromise would likely allow President Barack Obama to raise the country’s debt limit by $2.1 trillion to $2.4 trillion and would trim a similar amount from government spending over the next 10 years, with no tax hikes.

Speaking on the Senate floor Monday, Sessions acknowledged that the proposal has some positive aspects but criticized it as being put together too hastily, cutting too little and bypassing the normal, often deliberative, Senate procedure.

“For those reasons, I feel like — as a senator and a ranking member of the Budget Committee who has wrestled with this for some time — I will not be able to support the legislation, though I truly believe that it is a step forward and I respect my colleagues who worked hard to try to bring it forward,” Sessions said