ATLANTA – The U.S. Senate today voted 60-39 to increase the debt ceiling by $1.9 trillion to $14.3 trillion.
The federal government’s budget for the current fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, is roughly $4.3 trillion, but the government needs to borrow $1.4 to make up for its deficit. By approving the $1.9 trillion, Congress doesn’t anticipate having to approve a higher ceiling until after the November election.
The House is expected to vote on the measure next week.
“This is the largest increase of the deficit in our nation’s history, and this bill was passed without a mechanism to force Congress to rein in spending,” Isakson said in a news release. “I find it inconsistent for the administration to call for a freeze on domestic spending at the same time it is asking us to increase the deficit by nearly $2 trillion in order to finance the government’s borrowing binge long enough to get past the November 2010 elections.”
Isakson is co-sponsoring a Constitutional amendment that would give the president line-item veto power and that would require Congress to balance the federal budget. If approved, the amendment would allow the president to either eliminate or reduce appropriations in bills that Congress passes.
Meanwhile, the Senate this week did not pass a measure to establish bipartisan committee tasked with reducing the national debt. President Obama this week also proposed a spending freeze on discretionary spending – a proposal met with a lukewarm reception.
“His ‘freeze proposal’ is excellent as a concept, but is almost meaningless in practice when it comes after a year of unprecedented spending increases,” U.S. Rep. John Linder, R-Ga., said in a statement in response to Obama’s State of the Union speech. “Between FY 2009 and FY 2010, non-defense discretionary spending increased 17.4 percent; and, if you include the $862 billion stimulus bill, non-defense discretionary spending has increased by a whopping 57 percent since President Obama took office.
“We don’t need a ‘freeze’ at these extraordinarily high levels; as a starting point, we need a commitment to freeze spending at 2008 levels,” Linder added.