A majority of Kentucky lawmakers assisted the US House in passing legislation to keep the government from defaulting on its loans. Lawmakers have gotten an earful from angry voters lately and that extended to the House floor. Nine protestors were arrested in the Gallery after chanting their opposition to the compromise measure on raising the nation’s debt ceiling.
But with the nation facing default if the deal didn’t pass, many lawmakers, like Kentucky Democrat Ben Chandler, swallowed what they say wasn’t their favorite piece of legislation.
“I ended up voting for it. We can’t let our nation default; it’s as simple of that. And this bill is obviously not perfect, that’s the nature of a compromise, everybody has to give up something. But at least it protected some of the most important programs to our seniors and some of the most vulnerable people in our country,” said Chandler.
Democrats won a major concession by protecting Medicare recipients from potential cuts. And Republicans secured more than two trillion dollars in spending cuts, though many in the GOP fear the deal could deeply reduce defense spending. The implications worried Kentucky Republican Brett Guthrie until the last minute, but in the end he supported the bill.
“If you just chose to vote no, it means you’re going to say no to $2.2 to $2.4 trillion in cuts,” said Guthrie.
While 66 Republicans opposed the bill because they wanted deeper budget cuts, Kentucky’s Hal Rogers says those critics should be happy with the concessions won by the GOP.
"Well it satisfies all of the aims we were after. It cuts spending, it requires a larger amount of spending opposed to the spending limit increase, a balanced budget amendment. I think we got practically all we went for,” said Rogers.
Republican Geoff Davis and Democrat John Yarmuth were the only two Kentucky House members to oppose the bill. The Senate is scheduled to vote on the legislation Tuesday afternoon, where Senator Rand Paul has promised to also vote no.