The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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February 8, 2013

Congress: How they voted week ended Feb. 8

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Here's how area members of Congress voted on major issues in the week ending Feb. 8.


REPUBLICAN BUDGET DEMAND: Voting 253 for and 167 against, the House on Feb. 6 sent the Senate a Republican bill (HR 444) demanding that President Obama, in his soon-to-be-released budget for fiscal 2014 and later years, specifies when the federal budget will be balanced and his policies for achieving balance.

The U.S. Code requires presidents to release a new budget by the first Monday in February each year but sets no penalty for tardiness. The administration failed to meet this year's deadline, saying Congress's long-running "fiscal cliff" dispute delayed preparation. The next budget year, fiscal 2014, begins Oct. 1, 2013.

Tom McClintock, R-Calif., said the bill "simply requires that if the president can't balance the budget this year, he tell us how long it will take and what needs to be done to do so. We would expect that from any family. We should demand it from our government."

Jim McGovern, D-Mass., said he bill "isn't a meaningful attempt to address the budget. It's a gimmick wrapped in talking points inside a press release."

A yes vote was to pass the bill.

MINNESOTA: Voting yes: Tim Walz, D-1, John Kline, R-2, Erik Paulsen, R-3, Michele Bachmann, R-6 

Voting no: Betty McCollum, D-4, Keith Ellison, D-5, Collin Peterson, D-7, Rick Nolan, D-8.

DEMOCRATS' `SEQUESTER' PLAN: Voting 194 for and 229 against, the House on Feb. 6 defeated a bid by Democrats to replace HR 444 (above) with measures to avert massive cuts in discretionary-spending programs that are to start taking effect March 1 and last for eight years under a process known as "sequestration."

These cuts consist of about $109 billion in annual across-the-board reductions in military, foreign-affairs and domestic spending (but not entitlement spending) between fiscal 2013-2021. This motion sought to replace these blind, multi-year cuts with equivalent savings that would be reached by combining revenue increases that spare the middle class with targeted reductions in discretionary spending.

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