October 29, 2015

House passes budget; NM delegation split

Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

As a fitting final act by John Boehner as Speaker of the House, he passed a budget deal that will avoid a default until after the next elections—but the votes of Democratic members in favor outnumbered the votes of Republicans.

Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

Capitol Hill in Washington D.C.

When it comes to New Mexico, the lone Republican, Steve Pearce, joined a majority of Republicans in voting against the deal.

Pearce slammed the bill for how it was crafted, calling it a “backroom budget” in a statement.

“Not only does this bill fail to make the hard choices, it raises the debt ceiling and changes spending priorities without so much as a single amendment,” Pearce said. “The resulting bill will hurt New Mexican farmers and ranchers, seniors on fixed incomes, and our state’s economy.”

The two Democrats voted in favor of the bill.

Rep. Ben Ray Luján noted that it would stop sequester cuts—at least for two years.

“This legislation takes important steps that begin to undo the sequester’s damaging cuts while also guaranteeing the full faith and credit of the United States with a clean extension of the debt ceiling,” Luján said. “While I would have preferred an agreement that completely addressed the sequester, it does provide two years of relief and moves Congress past one manufactured crisis. It also enables the House and Senate to get to work on a budget that funds the government and increases investments in education, health care, and innovation.”

Luján did say he did not think the budget deal was perfect.

Michelle Lujan Grisham also largely praised the deal, especially the pausing of sequester for two years. She said that “New Mexico, more than any other state, has suffered from indiscriminate budget cuts” in an apparent reference to the sequester.

“We can be fiscally responsible, cut waste in government, and invest in our priorities, like affordable access to Medicare, at the same time,” Lujan Grisham said. “But it requires cooperation and a willingness to negotiate. My constituents in New Mexico expect that from Congress.”

The bill now heads to the Senate, which is expected to quickly pass the budget and send it to President Barack Obama’s desk.

The vote happened on Wednesday, a day before the House voted for Paul Ryan for Speaker of the House.

Ryan voted in favor of the budget deal.