NY-22 Minute: Brindisi Votes Against Budget Bill; Spars with Tenney on Twitter By Luke Perry
Rep. Anthony Brindisi recently voted against a bipartisan budget agreement funding the government until July of 2021. The bill (passed 284-149) raises the debt ceiling and allocates $2.7 trillion with a $320 billion budget increase.
The bill suspends spending caps adopted in Budget Control Act (2011), commonly called “sequestration.” The caps, not popular on either side of the aisle, are now set to permanently expire in 2021.
The debt ceiling (spending limit established by federal law) had to be raised so the government could distribute money previously allocated. Without doing so, the government would default on its budgetary obligations.
President Trump and House and Senate leaders from both parties support the agreement. Rep. Brindisi was among 16 Democrats (out of 219) to oppose the bill. 65 Republicans voted in favor, 132 against.
Asked about his vote, Brindisi said “any solution to the debt problem will take bipartisan buy-in” and that he “welcomes his colleagues, Democrat, Republican, and Independent, to join him.” Brindisi believes the Blue Dog Blueprint for Fiscal Reform constitutes a “good starting off point for” related discussion.
The blueprint calls for a Balanced Budget Amendment, Pay-As-You-Go budgeting, and supports the No Budget, No Pay Act. The constitutional amendment, sponsored by Rep. Ben McAdams (D, UT-4), would “prohibit the federal government from spending more than it receives in any given fiscal year, except in the cases of war or recession.” The amendment must pass in both chambers of Congress with at least two-thirds majorities, then pass 75 percent of state legislatures, rendering it unlikely to succeed.
Pay-As-You-Go budgeting was passed earlier this year in HR-6. The bill “requires that both mandatory spending and tax cuts must be offset to prevent increasing the national debt.”
The practice has been adopted and waived several times this century. It’s unlikely the Senate will pass this House bill, and even if they did, the new legislation does nothing to address the current $22 trillion national debt.
Similarly, HR-129, sponsored by Rep. Jim Cooper (D, TN-5), “prevents House and Senate members from receiving their salary if they miss annual deadlines for budget and appropriations bills,” but doesn’t directly address the debt (how much money the federal government owes creditors) or deficit (money spent each year the government does not have on hand).
Former NY-22 Rep. Claudia Tenney criticized Brindisi for his budget vote via Twitter. Tenney is “leaning closer to running” after recently resuming political commentary on social media and local radio.
Tenney’s comments prompted a response from Brindisi foreshadowing a potential bruising 2020 rematch.
Tenney then claimed Brindisi was a liar. The exchange was reminiscent of incivility in their first public forum during the 2018 campaign.
During the 2018 campaign, Brindisi criticized Tenney’s budget vote and her claim that “within the next ten years our budget will balance and our deficit will be reduced by $6.5 trillion.”
Since President Trump took office, the debt has grown over $2 trillion, exceeding $22 trillion for the first time. Trump’s major piece of legislation, The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, has not paid for itself through economic growth, contrary to Tenney’s claims in July of 2018.
The Senate is expected to pass the House-approved budget this week.
Luke Perry (@PolSciLukePerry) is Professor of Government at Utica College
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