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Congress Votes to Raise Debt Ceiling as Florida Delegation Divides on Party Lines

February 11, 2014 - 6:00pm

The Florida delegation split along party lines, as the U.S. House voted Tuesday night to raise the federal debt ceiling with no conditions until March 2015. The measure passed 221-201, with 28 Republicans sticking with U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, to support it. Only two Democrats joined 199 Republicans in opposing the measure.

Boehner announced to the House Republican caucus at a meeting Tuesday that he would move to end the three-year battle over the debt ceiling but received little support from his side. Every single Republican from the Florida delegation opposed raising the debt ceiling while all of the Democrats representing the Sunshine State voted to support the proposal.

Still, enough Democrats rallied behind Boehner to back the bill including Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla.

Todays vote to raise the debt ceiling was a vote to uphold the full faith and credit of the United States of America, one of the most solemn responsibilities of a member of Congress, said Wasserman Schultz. "For another year, the United States will be able to avoid default and pay its bills on time important assurances for American taxpayers and businesses and much-needed stability for our recovering economy.

A default would have had significant consequences for my constituents and other Floridians who rely on health and retirement benefits, home mortgages, and student loans, Wasserman Schultz added. For example, some of the more than 4 million Floridians who depend on Social Security could have seen a disruption in this critical service.

Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC), slammed Republicans for opposing raising the debt ceiling.

Governing from crisis to crisis is no way to lead our country, Wasserman Schultz said. Once again, Republicans allowed this vote to come down to the last minute as they considered multiple gimmicks, each of which put politics before people. Fortunately cooler heads prevailed and we were able to come together to pass a clean debt ceiling deal.

Tonights vote to raise our debt limit and increase the debt burden on American families was something I could not support, said Ted Yoho, R-Fla. Time and again, Congress has voted to raise the debt limit without addressing the serious problem of out-of-control government spending. This crushing debt currently exceeds $17 trillion and is increasing at a steady clip. We must ask ourselves at what point will Democrats and Republicans wake up and address this uncontrollable freight train that doesnt discriminate according to party affiliation and is the biggest threat to our national security.

I was elected to Congress to work on solutions to decrease the national debt and enact fiscally responsible laws, Yoho added. I am and always will be committed to doing this. The future of our country, and the futures of our children and grandchildren depend on what we do here.

On Tuesday night, Dennis Ross, R-Fla., also explained his opposition to raising the debt ceiling.

"If our nation's $17 trillion of debt were divided up, each person would owe more than $54,000. The debt has almost doubled since 2005, Ross said. I have consistently stated that I will not support limitlessly increasing the debt ceiling unless it is coupled with a solid plan to decrease our debt. Presidents throughout history -- including President Obama -- have made concessions when it comes to the debt ceiling, and this time should be no exception, especially when almost half of our debt accrued under President Obama's leadership."

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