Cecelia Mason Published

How did West Virginia's delegation vote? Congress re-opens government and raises debt ceiling


From the Associated Press: Congress has passed legislation to reopen the partially-shuttered federal government and avert a potentially disastrous default on U.S. obligations, clearing the measure for President Barack Obama’s promised signature.

Passage of the bill late Wednesday in the House and Senate ended a Washington-created crisis that closed much of government for 16 days. It came on the eve of the date the Treasury Department warned it would no longer be able to borrow to pay the government’s bills.

The legislation was carried to passage in the House by strong support from Democrats and 87 yes votes from majority Republicans who had originally sought to use the measure to derail Obama’s three-year-old health care law.

The legislation will reopen the government through Jan. 15 and permit Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7.

Reaction from West Virginia’s delegation and how they voted:

From the House:

The bill passed the House by a vote of 285-144 with all three of West Virginia’s Representatives voting in favor.

Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.)

“For now, we can breathe a collective sigh of relief, but this is a temporary respite,” Rep. Nick Rahall (D-W.Va.) said in a news release. “We should hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail before we must revisit these issues early next year, and that the Majority in the House of Representatives will not revive the threat of a shutdown and default to extract political concessions.”

“Such tactics are reckless and completely at odds with the Constitutional oath to which every Member has sworn,” Rahall said. “And I hope that my colleagues from both sides of the aisle will stand up to those extremists who would put their personal political fortunes above the collective well-being of the Nation.”

Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.)

Rep. David McKinley (R-W.Va.) issued a new release saying: “The American people deserve a solution that ends the partisan bickering, opens the government and ensures we pay our bills on time.”

“While I would prefer a plan that makes more substantial reforms to grow the economy, address our excessive spending, and fix the broken health care law, this agreement will allow us to move forward,” he said.

Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.)

“It is time to reopen the government, and it is clearly not in our country’s best interests to default on our debts,” Rep. Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) said. “This legislation will protect the full faith and credit of the United States, bring government employees back to work for the American people, and start a larger discussion on our nation’s fiscal issues. West Virginians expect nothing less.”

From the Senate:

Before the House took up the measure, the Senate passed it 81-18. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) voted for the measure.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.)

“I am pleased that our leaders could put politics aside and come together in a bipartisan way to reach a deal that reopens the government and prevents a first-ever default on our debt,” said Manchin, who was active in working on a compromise. “I thank Senator Susan Collins and our group of fourteen bipartisan senators, seven Republicans, six Democrats and one Independent, who helped draft the template of the final budget deal.” 

“The bottom line is that we managed to avoid this self-inflicted wound to the national and global economy, but it is past time for America to get its financial house in order,” he said. “We need a bipartisan, big fix like the Bowles-Simpson template that focuses on spending, revenue and reform.”

Manchin said he’s hopeful the bipartisan, bicameral budget committee required under the agreement will be a first step in reducing the deficit and balancing the budget.

Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)

“The deal we agreed to today is not perfect, but it’s a step forward,” Rockefeller said.

“It will get MSHA personnel back on the job so our miners’ safety is no longer at risk. It will provide security for our veterans who need and deserve access to VA services,” Rockefeller said.

“It will get our intelligence analysts back to work so they can resume their critically important work that prevents terrorist attacks and thwarts attempts to breach our national security. It will begin to repair the loss of confidence in our economy,” he added.