Senator Olympia Snowe (R/Maine) - why she voted NO -

"...Today’s vote was critical to maintaining our country’s financial credibility, and it was the first step in what will be many to reclaim control over the U.S. Government’s out-of-control spending. This bill cuts current spending, it caps future spending, and it controls previously unrestrained government budgets over the next decade, while also protecting critical Social Security benefits. “Just weeks ago, the United States was warned it would lose its stellar AAA credit rating on two grounds; if Washington did nothing to address its debt and deficit spending, and if Congress failed to raise the debt ceiling, thus triggering a default. This vote addresses both issues by, for the first time in history, requiring spending reductions equal or greater to the amount the debt ceiling is raised. That is indeed a first, positive step toward making our government accountable to its people. “This action was critically important to every family in America. A default would have caused a downgrade in our nation’s credit rating and triggered higher interest rates for borrowing at all levels, from the Federal government, to states and municipalities, to every American who has a mortgage, a car loan, a student loan, or a credit card. Failure to pass this bill would have put retirement funds at risk, at a time when seniors are looking for financial stability and counting on predictability in their retirement income. “While no one can predict how the ratings agencies will react to this legislation, it at least signals that our country is serious about getting its financial situation in order. In addition, it requires Congress to vote on a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, which is a commonsense reform I have championed since before I came to Congress. Mandating the Federal government do what nearly every state legislature is already required to do sends a message to every American and the world that Washington finally gets it, and finally understands the consequences of failing to control spending. “Though this agreement is historic, it is not without its faults. I have grave concerns about the super committee established by this legislation. Creating a 12-person Washington commission to do the job of 535 elected representatives is another indication of a broken political system in dire need of repair. I will work tirelessly to bring accountability, reason and transparency to the decisions this super committee makes and presents to Congress for an up or down vote. I am also concerned the legislation sets up the prospect of automatic cuts that could severely impact Medicare, our national defense, and other vital programs. “Moreover, this legislation should have also included a pro-growth strategy for our economy to address our cumbersome tax code, overly onerous and inefficient regulatory scheme, and a mountain of new health care costs. I have long advocated for a major overhaul of our tax code, regulatory reform, and a pro-jobs agenda. Indeed, throughout this year I have repeatedly called on our President and this Congress to focus with laser-like precision on jobs and the economy. Once again, I call on the President and the Congress to immediately turn to focus on concrete measures that will actually put Americans back to work.”

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