Monday, October 02, 2023

How did the Tennessee delegation vote on a continuing resolution to avoid a shut down.

by Rod Williams, Oct. 2, 2023- As anyone paying the least bit of attention knows by now, the Congress passed a resolution at the very last minute to keep the government running for 45 more days. You can read more about it here, here and here.

In the Senate the continuing resolution passed by a vote of 88 to 9. Only 60 votes were needed for the bill to pass. Sen. Marsha Blackburn and Sen. Bill Hagerty were among the nine Republicans who voted against the bill.

In the House the continuing resolution passed by a vote of 335 to 91. Among Tennessee's delegation voting for the continuing resolution were:
  • U.S. Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Memphis
  • U.S. Rep. David Kustoff, R-Germantown
  • U.S. Rep. Chuck Fleischmann, R-Ooltewah
Voting against the continuing resolution:
  • U.S. Rep. John Rose, R-Cookeville;
  • U.S. Rep. Andy Ogles, R-Columbia;
  • U.S. Rep. Mark Green, R-Clarksville;
  • U.S. Rep. Diana Harshbarger, R-Kingsport;
  • U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais, R-South Pittsburg;
  • U.S. Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Knoxville.
In my view nothing would have been gained by shutting down the government. As Rep. Kustoff said following the vote, "It is critical that we keep our government open so we can continue to work on bills that cut wasteful spending and get our country back on track."

The continuing resolution did nothing to solve the fight over spending levels or the ballooning national debt, but shutting down the government would have done nothing to resolve the issues either.  While not including money for additional border security or Ukraine, the measure did include $16 billion in disaster relief. Aid to Ukraine and funding for border security are unresolved contentions issue the Congress needs to address in the next 45 days.

The House has passed four of the 12 overall full-year appropriations bills to fund the government, while the Senate has passed none. Passing 12 individual spending bills covering 12 major functions of government is the way things are supposed to be done. That was made law in 1974. However, it has rarely happened and instead Congress usually passes one big ominous spending bill.  Also, the budget is supposed to be passed by October 1. That also rarely happens. A continuing resolution is the norm.

The House is to be commended for attempting to follow proper procedure. My hope is that the House would continue to pass the other eight of the twelve spending bills and that the Senate would act on them. I doubt that will happen, however. In any event, nothing would have been gained by a government shutdown. I am disappointed that so many Republicans voted to unnecessarily shut down the government. 

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