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Mid-Missouri congressmen split on debt ceiling deal


The members of Congress who represent Mid-Missouri are split on the debt ceiling deal, with the area's newest House member breaking away from his more tenured colleagues.

Rep. Mark Alford (R-Raytown), who represents Missouri's Fourth Congressional District, voted against the legislation to raise the debt ceiling and avert a credit default Wednesday.

"While I applaud the efforts of Kevin McCarthy throughout this negotiation process, I cannot in good faith support this debt ceiling package," Alford said in a video statement released Wednesday night. "China is building its military at a much faster pace than we are. This legislation will only exacerbate that deficit. We cannot be expected to properly combat the pacing threat from Communist China if we are capping military spending at 1% growth for FY2025. When factoring in inflation, this operates as a cut."

Alford also told ABC 17 that House Republicans have been pushing for a debt ceiling extension of one-year for an amount of $1.5 trillion. He said that the extension of $4 trillion was simply too much.

“This bill took it from one year, raising the debt ceiling, to two years at a tune of $4 trillion dollars. That’s $4 trillion dollars to what we already have, which is about $33 trillion. That’s a 13 percent increase in our national debt and I could not in all good conscience put another four trillion on the backs of our children and grandchildren.”

Alford later added that he surveyed thousands of constituents in the Fourth Congressional District and the majority of them agreed that they did not want this bill passed.

“I said from the very outset of my campaign around the 24 counties, traveling 70 thousand in this campaign, that I was going to listen to the voters. It’s not about Mark Alford, it’s not about what I want done, it’s about what they want done. I listened to them and I voted for the Fourth Congressional District.”

Rep. Sam Graves, R-Tarkio, voted in favor of the deal. Graves, who represents northern Missouri, emphasized the spending cuts included in the bill.

“This bill is a step in the right direction,” Graves said in a statement released Wednesday. “While the Fiscal Responsibility Act includes the largest spending cuts in American history and requires the President to offset the costs of his administrative actions, there’s more wasteful spending that needs to be cut if we want to get this inflation crisis under control. I look forward to working with my colleagues to finish the job we were sent here to do by the American people.”

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer, R-St. Elizabeth, also voted in favor of the bill and echoed Graves' position in a Twitter thread. Luetkemeyer represents much of Mid-Missouri, including part of Boone County and Columbia.

"President Biden wanted a clean debt ceiling increase and a $5 trillion tax hike. Instead the American people are saving $2.1 trillion and getting reforms that support American energy and economic growth," Luetkemeyer tweeted.

The Senate is yet to vote on the bill but the default deadline is Monday. Experts have warned of dire economic consequences if the U.S. defaults on its debt including a possible recession.

Sen. Eric Schmitt, a Republican who took office this year, said he will oppose the debt ceiling deal.

"This is an important moment for our country, as we have the opportunity to rein in spending and enact much-needed structural reform -- unfortunately the Fiscal Responsibility Act does neither," Schmitt said in a statement. "In its current form, I cannot support this bill and will vote against it. Runaway spending and a supercharged administrative state are grave threats to our country, and I look forward to working with my colleagues to reduce spending, enact structural reforms, and return power back to the people."

Sen. Josh Hawley told ABC 17 he was going to vote no on the bill.

"It doesn't do anything to bring down our trade deficit with China. That deficit ought to be zero. Every dollar of that trade deficit represents jobs lost in Missouri," Hawley explained. "It represents industry lost in Missouri. I’m not interested in making China richer and our workers poorer. We need to be doing just the opposite so I think it's a missed opportunity.

I've said now for months that I want to see trade deficit action in the trade deal or I'm not going to vote for it. It's the most important deficit we have."

If the bill does not pass the United States could face a potential default that could send the country into a recession.

Hawley told ABC 17 he does not want to see the country default, and that if they needed his vote he would be willing to get a deal done like he did with Bernie Sanders in a COVID deal that sent relief checks to every working person in the country making $75,000 or less.

"If they really needed my vote and wanted my vote they could get my vote by doing something for blue collar workers. They could get my vote by doing something for the people of Missouri and the people of this country who are working people," Hawley said. "My votes not hard to get. I've been really clear about what I want but they're not interested. The White House ins't the leadership isn't because they don't need my vote."

Article Topic Follows: Politics

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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