Minnesota congressional delegation reacts to debt dealby Madeleine Baran, Minnesota Public Radio,
Brett Neely, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesota's members of Congress are weighing in on the deal between the president and congressional leaders to cut spending and increase the debt ceiling.
The compromise reached Sunday between President Barack Obama and congressional leaders would increase the government's borrowing cap and establish a committee to find at least $1.2 trillion in cuts.
Leaders of both parties will present the compromise to their members Monday with the goal of enacting the bill before a Tuesday deadline to avoid default.
Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., said she will vote for the bill but would have preferred a deficit reduction package that included equal amounts of increased revenue and spending cuts. She said the GOP-controlled House would have blocked any bill that included a tax hike.
"It's not the deal I would have written," Klobuchar told MPR News, "but you have to remember that the stakes are incredibly high."
As a candidate for the GOP presidential nomination, Bachmann has been a vocal opponent of any increase to the debt ceiling, and she reiterated her stance in a statement released after Obama's televised address Sunday night.
She criticized the compromise, arguing that it spends too much and does not go far enough to cut government spending. Bachmann said she will vote against it.
"Someone has to say 'No.' I will," the statement said.
U.S. Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., has not said whether he will join his fellow Minnesota senator and vote for the bill.
Other members of Minnesota's delegation in the House have discussed previous versions of the debt ceiling compromise, but have not spoken about the deal reached Sunday.
Rep. Chip Cravaack's vote will likely come under the most scrutiny of any lawmaker in Minnesota. The freshman Republican lawmaker, who narrowly defeated longtime Democratic incumbent Jim Oberstar, is expected to face a hotly-contested re-election next year.
Cravaack voted against House Speaker John Boehner's debt ceiling bill on Friday. A vote against the final deal could jeopardize critical support from the Republican Party in his re-election bid.
Cravaack's still making his decision.
"I'm getting numbers for three different things. One, what does out debt look like at the end of '21, what is the percentage of spending per GDP ratio and what is the percentage of debt to GDP ratio."
Rep. Erik Paulsen voted for the Boehner bill on Friday, but the Republican lawmaker has not said if he will vote for the compromise deal reached Sunday. On Friday, Paulsen released a statement saying he voted for the Boehner bill "with great reservation."
The Republican lawmaker said the House bill "earned my support after recent revisions including increased spending cuts and a Balanced Budget Amendment."
The latest budget deal does not include an amendment requiring a balanced budget.
Rep. John Kline, who has close ties to the GOP leadership, was supportive of the agreement but didn't offer a full endorsement Sunday night, according to spokesman Troy Young.
"While there is not a final deal, Congressman Kline is pleased the proposal appears to be based on the framework of "Cut, Cap and Balance" and includes no tax increases," Young wrote in an email. "While he has some initial concerns on how a joint committee could act and operate, he is still reviewing the plan and wants to ensure this or any agreement would fundamentally change the way Washington spends taxpayer money."
However, the possibility of automatic cuts to defense spending if both parties don't reach a longer-term deal to reduce spending concerns Kline, who says he supports the bill, regardless
"This product is frankly much better than I was afraid it could be," Kline said.
Rep. Keith Ellison outlined his priorities during an interview with MSNBC's Ed Schultz on July 25. The Democratic lawmaker co-chairs the Congressional Progressive Caucus.
"Our position is that we won't vote for anything that does undermine Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, but we didn't say we'd automatically vote for anything that didn't," Ellison said.
Ellison told MPR the bill's spending cuts will make the job market worse and that the bill goes against some of his core values.
"So, bottom line is that it's a bill that I can't support," Ellison said.
"I'm disinclined to vote for this. I don't like and I don't want to vote for it and the reason why is that it conflicts with every democratic value that I hold."
Rep. Collin Peterson, D-Minn., is expected to vote for the bill. Peterson, a member of the conservative Blue Dog Coalition of Democrats, has frequently voted with Republicans in the past. Over the weekend, he was one of 11 Democrats who crossed party lines to vote with Republicans and defeat a proposal put forward by Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Tim Walz said he's still researching the bill, but also that he and his fellow Democrats are irritated that they're asked to help House Republicans pass this bill after Republicans conceded very little and dominated the debate.
"To have to carry this for them when they have set that all the way, it's frustrating, Walz said. "That's what you hear out of this caucus, that's what's going on with most of these folks."
Rep. Betty McCollum and has not commented on the deal reached Sunday.
Madeleine Baran is a general assignment reporter for MPR News.