Democrats Attack Florida GOP Congressmen Opposed to Shutdown Deal
Around the State
Florida Democrats are going on the attack after the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate reached an agreement to raise the federal debt ceiling and end the government shutdown on Wednesday night.
Allison Tant, the chairwoman of the Florida Democratic Party, sounded the alarm early, even before the Senate agreed to the deal on Wednesday.
But Tant jumped the gun early. Webster voted for the agreement with reservations as he explained on Thursday.
“Last night, I voted in favor of a plan to reopen our government, maintain historic spending cuts, and remove the threat of default,” Webster said. “Under this bill, historic spending cuts will remain in place and taxes will not increase. For the first time in more than 50 years, federal spending will decrease for two years in a row.”
Webster added he was disappointed nothing was done to alter President Barack Obama’s federal health-care law.
“Regrettably, the Senate and president refused to level the playing field on Obamacare,” Webster said. “While I supported repeated measures to end the special exemptions and carve-outs that the politically connected continue to receive from this administration, the Senate and president rejected these attempts and even refused to agree to make the president live under a health care law he created.
“I will continue to work to rein in spending, address the true drivers of our debt and repeal this job-killing law,” Webster insisted in conclusion.
While he had a close challenge from former Orlando Police Chief Val Demings in 2012, Webster has yet to draw a major Democratic opponent for 2014. Demings hasn’t closed the door to running again.
Democrats are also turning up the heat on Southerland, who is one of their top targets in 2014. Gwen Graham, the daughter of Bob Graham who served three terms in the U.S. Senate and two terms as governor, outraised Southerland in the third quarter. According to Federal Election Commission Reports, Graham raised more than $453,100 in the third quarter while Southerland reeled in less than $252,800. With her strong showing, Graham has around $666,000 in the bank, about $12,000 more than Southerland.
On Wednesday night. Southerland voted against the agreement crafted in the U.S. Senate to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.
“With each passing day of this stalemate, I shared the growing anger of my people toward a broken Washington,” Southerland said. “That’s why I fought tooth and nail from day one to avert a shutdown, prevent a debt default and level the playing field between the American people’s health care and that of their government. Unfortunately, as the Senate rejected nearly every House-passed bill to fund essential services and keep the government open, it became clear to me that some in Washington were more interested in scoring political points than finding real solutions.
“I had no choice but to oppose Senator Reid’s bill because it provides short-term spending without addressing the long-term drivers of this shutdown, including an exploding national debt and glaring inequalities under the president’s health care law,” Southerland added. “I simply can’t justify to my constituents a system where corporations and labor unions deserve a one-year compliance delay and government officials get special premium subsidies while average American families receive neither. I hope both parties in Washington learned a lesson from this shutdown and we get serious about addressing these issues before again bringing the nation to the brink.”
The House Majority PAC, a Democratic super-PAC, quickly took aim at Southerland who is one of their top targets for 2014.
“Steve Southerland’s government shutdown has already cost $20 billion and preventing our nation from being able to pay its bills would roil economies around the world, but Southerland chose to throw caution to the wind and put politics – not the families of North and Northwest Florida – first,” said Andy Stone, a spokesman for the House Majority PAC. “Voters won’t soon forget that Steve Southerland recklessly chose to use a ‘political weapon of mass destruction’ to throw them under the bus.”
Yoho holds a seat in a strong Republican district and he voted against the agreement on Wednesday night.
“While I am happy we will reopen the government and get Americans working again, this legislation does not adequately address the root problem that got us here in the first place,” Yoho said. “Our out-of-control spending has caused us to constantly borrow more and more, which brings us to this point each year. Rather than constant debt ceiling increases, we should focus on cutting our spending and increasing our revenues by creating an environment of certainty by getting government out of the way of business through tax reform, regulatory reform, and health care reform.
“Nothing in this legislation gives me hope that we won’t be right back in this same place a few months from now,” Yoho added. “Rather than simply pushing decisions to another day, we should address them now. We’ve raised the debt ceiling 14 times since 2001. By perpetuating that status quo, we now stand at $17 trillion in debt. That is the equivalent of owing $53,000 per American and $148,000 per taxpayer. By pushing our country more and more into debt, we will end up hurting all Americans regardless of party affiliation.”
Reach Kevin Derby at firstname.lastname@example.org.