By Joe Rutherford
Northeast Mississippi’s congressional delegation weighed in Wednesday on the deal struck to end the government shutdown and avert a default crisis.
Sens. Thad Cochran and Roger Wicker voted for the agreement, while Rep. Alan Nunnelee voted against it. All are Republicans.
Cochran said in a statement from his office and a speech on the Senate floor that a bipartisan agreement to reopen the federal government and prevent risking the nation’s credit worthiness should be followed with concrete steps toward “a long-term agreement that will reduce our debt through structural changes to government spending.”
Cochran spoke in late afternoon as senators made their record for the debate.
“I am pleased that we seem close to resolving the current impasse, and I hope that over the coming weeks we can devote ourselves to thoughtful and productive deliberations on the budget,” he said. “It is important that we act to restore the confidence of the American people in the United States Senate. We must take real steps to strengthen our nation’s fiscal foundation so that our economy can grow, and American families and businesses can prosper.”
Cochran said he wants a long-term agreement that can reduce debt “through structural changes to government spending. As a part of that process, we must talk seriously about the president’s health care law; its serious flaws and its impact on families and businesses. I have consistently opposed this law and one of my goals is seeing that it is repealed, delayed or made voluntary. Achieving that goal may take longer than we would prefer, because we are in the minority. But the law’s declining popularity should give senators from both parties reason to reevaluate it.”
Wicker said the agreement will allow the government to reopen and for the U.S. to pay its bills, but it’s not a complete fix.
“For the first time in 50 years, Washington spending has declined for two years in a row,” he said. “The proposal will ensure the budget savings, established in 2011, will continue. It also requires a budget conference between the House and Senate to address our nation’s unsustainable $17 trillion debt. While it doesn’t fix the problems associated with Obamacare, it is important for Congress to reopen the government, not default on our bills, and get this crisis behind us.”
Nunnelee voted against the agreement. He said he is appreciative of everyone’s efforts to reach agreement, but there are still problems.
“Every day, there is more evidence the Obamacare train wreck is destroying the health insurance market and driving up costs on hard-working families,” he said. “Every day, the mountain of debt our grandchildren will have to repay grows larger. Every day, we see more grim news about people struggling to find jobs. In order to save the American dream for present and future generations, it is our duty to attack these problems head on.”
Among other members of Mississippi’s U.S. House delegation, Republican Rep. Steven Palazzo voted no while Rep. Gregg Harper, also a Republican, and Democrat Bennie Thompson voted for it.