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Hultgren: Debt Ceiling Bill 'Doesn't Go Far Enough'

The Republican congressman from the 14th District explains his "no" vote on the Budget Control Act, which passed the House on Monday.

After weeks of tense negotiations, the House of Representatives finally passed a measure to raise the debt ceiling Monday night. But Republican Rep. Randy Hultgren, who represents Illinois' 14th District (which includes St. Charles, Geneva and Batavia), was one of 161 congressmen to vote against it.

The bill, drafted by Speaker of the House John Boehner, will raise the country’s debt ceiling by at least $2.1 trillion, will cut spending by at least $917 billion during 10 years, and creates a committee tasked with reducing spending an additional $1.5 trillion.

The bill, however, does not include a requirement for a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution—essentially a guarantee that the country will not spend more than it takes in—as proposed by Republicans. In a written statement Monday night, Hultgren said that was one reason he voted no.

"Tonight, I voted against a flawed bill that doesn't go far enough," Hultgren wrote. "I've been clear from the very beginning I would not support any effort to increase our nation's debt ceiling if the proposal does not hold true to the values of Cut, Cap, and Balance, as well as enact serious structural changes.

"It is my opinion that the proposal approved by the House tonight falls short of what we need to do to put our country back on the right track. By failing to require Congress to approve a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) prior to any further increases in the debt ceiling, this bill does not provide the structural changes that I stated were necessary to earn my support.

"When leadership changed the bill on Thursday night to strengthen the BBA provision, that change earned my support; in failing to keep that strong language, I could not, in good conscience, support this bill."

The Budget Control Act of 2011 passed the House 269-161, with 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats voting for it. The measure now moves to the Senate. If a deal is not reached by tomorrow, the country will reach its current $14.3 trillion debt ceiling and may default on its bills.

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