WASHINGTON – Republican Rep. Tom Emmer broke stride with the Minnesota delegation last Friday, voting “no” on legislation that combined hurricane aid with raising the debt ceiling and funding the government through December.
The measure, which passed 316-90, offers $15 billion in storm aid in exchange for raising the debt ceiling and funding the government for another three months. All 90 votes against the bill came from Republicans. Emmer was the lone “no” vote from Minnesota.
Emmer called the country’s rising debt “unsustainable,” arguing that Congress must be able to deal with natural disasters like hurricanes without creating a financial crisis.
“Today’s vote was a vote against continuing the status quo, which we know to be unsustainable,” Emmer said in a statement Friday, according to the Star Tribune. “Congress must be able to address the crisis of the day without creating another one down the line.”
Emmer was not the only representative from Minnesota to express concern over raising the debt ceiling. Republican Rep. Jason Lewis was hesitant to approve the debt limit increase despite ultimately voting in favor of the measure.
“This is by no means a blank check,” Lewis said in a statement. “Any longer-term spending and debt-related legislation going forward must include real budgetary reform, tax reform, or serious spending reductions in order to earn my vote.”
Lewis defended his position saying the three-month extension gives Congress time to draft “proper solutions” to long-term financial issues.
“Responsible governing means both meeting today’s obligations, and getting our fiscal house in order to meet tomorrow’s.” Lewis said.