Obama Signs Debt Deal

Posted on August 3, 2011

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LAUREN LINDER

President Obama immediately signed a debt bill Tuesday afternoon, hours before the federal government’s borrowing authority was set to expire.

After months of disagreements between Democrats and Republicans, the Senate passed a debt deal 74 to 26, smoothly receiving the 60 votes needed to defeat a filibuster.

Courtesy of AP

The Senate vote followed the House’s passage Monday night, which included an unexpected yea vote by Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Democrat of Arizona.

Returning to the chamber for the first time since the January shooting in Tucson, Giffords created a sense of unity between the two parties. Giffords, who received a warm welcome and jubilant applause from both parties, cast one of the last votes in support of the bill.

Courtesy of AP

Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the minority leader, praised Giffords.

“There isn’t a name that stirs more love, more admiration, more respect, more wishing for our daughters to be like her than the name of Congresswoman Gabby Giffords,” Pelosi said. “Thank you, Gabby.”

Giffords brought positive encouragement to lawmakers, whose last days were filled with frustration.

With a vote of 269 to 161, the House showed a strong backing behind the plan, which will cut over $2.1 trillion in government spending during the next 10 years. The deal will also increase the federal government’s borrowing authority through the end of next year and establish a new, forceful joint Congressional committee to advise broad changes in spending and perhaps in tax policy in order to shrink the deficit.

The numerous negotiations and debates over the debt limit revealed intense cracks within both the Republican and Democratic parties. However, the two sides were not content to accept the agreement, which was announced late Sunday by President Obama.

Courtesy of AP

Following the approval in the House Monday evening, Democrats and Republicans stressed the need to pass the bill in order to avert greater devastation on the economy.

“The default of the United States is not an option,” said Representative Steny H. Hoyer of Maryland, the No. 2 Democrat.

Republicans were unhappy that the deal did not supply more savings, but felt that it was acceptable as a first step in altering the flow of spending within the federal government.

“I would like to say this bill solves our problems. It doesn’t. It is a solid first step,” said Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas.

Courtesy of CBS News

Before signing the legislation, President Obama remarked that the bill highlighted an “important first step to ensuring that as a nation we live within our means.”

Obama went on to say that votes chose divided government, “but they sure didn’t vote for dysfunctional government.”

During his statements, Obama emphasized the need for bipartisanship between the two parties to get jobs done.

“It shouldn’t take the risk of default, the risk of economic catastrophe, to get folks in this town to get together and do their jobs,” Obama said. “Our economy didn’t need Washington to come along with a manufactured crisis to make things worse.”

Regardless of their anxiety and uneasiness, Democrats and Republicans alike embraced an end to their long hours of debt limit disagreements.

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Posted in: National