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July 26, 2011

Harris threatens ‘no’ vote on GOP debt proposal

Rep. Andy Harris, who as a first-term Republican is part of a block of lawmakers who may ultimately decide the fate of the debt ceiling debate, reiterated Tuesday that he will not support raising the limit unless a constitutional amendment to require a balanced budget is included.

And as it stands now, the proposal put forward by Republican House Speaker John Boehner does not include a balanced budget amendment.

"By an overwhelming amount, Maryland families and businesses have contacted me to demand that the federal government get its fiscal house in order, stop spending more than it takes in, and balance the budget,” Harris, a Baltimore County Republican, said in a statement. “I disagree with the president -- we need a balanced budget amendment, and I won't vote to raise the debt ceiling unless a balanced budget amendment is part of the deal."

Western Maryland Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett, the state's other GOP member of Congress, is undecided on the legislation.

Freshmen GOP lawmakers such as Harris could make or break the proposal put forward this week by Boehner, an Ohio Republican, that would cut budget deficits by roughly $1.2 trillion over 10 years and raise the debt ceiling for about six months. The current proposal, headed toward a vote as early as Wednesday, only calls for a vote on a balanced budget amendment.

Because of that, several conservative Republicans balked at the measure Tuesday. Democrats, meanwhile, have also opposed the Boehner plan because it extends the debt limit for six months rather than the 17 months sought by President Barack Obama. The White House threatened to veto the Boehner plan on Tuesday.

Bartlett, meanwhile, is still studying the plan, said spokeswoman Lisa Lyons Wright, which is significant in itself. Bartlett opposed raising the debt ceiling long before it was fashionable to do so, voting 'no' on every such vote that has come up during his 10-term tenure. He did, however, support a GOP plan earlier this month that called for deep cuts, a cap on spending and a balanced budget amendment. The measure failed to advance in the Democratic-led Senate.

His spokeswoman said that Bartlett is "studying the details closely" to ensure that there are "spending cuts and budget reforms and no tax increases" in the effort to "avert a fiscal catastrophe."

Congress is scrambling to find a way to raise the nation's $14.3 trillion debt ceiling while also addressing calls to lower budget deficits. U.S. Treasury Department officials have said the limit must be raised by Aug. 2 to avoid a potential default of the country's obligations.

Posted by John Fritze at 4:38 PM | | Comments (15)
Categories: Washington


I hope the people on the eastern shore are happy the economy is going to be annihilated unless everyone agrees to whatever witchcraft andy harris is interested in this week.

Did he ever get his government sponsored healthcare?

I really wish the republicans would stop overplaying their hand. What do you think?
Poll: Obama vs Boehner ; vote:

Hey - I am on the Eastern Shore, and twice I've written Harris to stop being a bozo, snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. He got the spending cuts out of Obama, yes, with an increase on the wealthy. I am small business owner, and know full well most of us reinvest in our business, or hire and pay people to grow it. Those who can pass-thru 250K or more to themselves, rather than expensing or amoritizing in their business, can well afford an upwards adjustment. Harris is playing with fire, and I look forward to seeing him gone, and I'm the moderate conservative he should be playing to.

Mr. Harris was elected to support the will of the people and in his district the will of the people is to control the scope and size of government. He's doing what he's supposed to do. I will work to have him reelected because of that. No loudmouth liberal who specialized in creating nonsense should ever control the message and his votes. We are the majority in his district and he works for us.

what a d-bag. The eastern shore electorate must be illiterate

Exactly, C Campbell. I also live in Andy Harris's district, and I also feel like he's trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. I wrote to him yesterday to beg him to take the deal. We do want the government's fiscal house in order, which means he needs to vote in favor. Holding out for a balanced budget amendment, which is never going to pass the Senate never mind get ratified, is just stupid.

Harris is just a nasty person. He was like that before he got into politics, and I don't think it's about to change.

I also reside in the district. I understand why Andy Harris is making these choices, but in this case I think it may be wiser if he supports the Boehner plan.

Harris is doing what he was elected to do. If Congress would pass a balanced budget amendment, which is what they should do, it would easily get ratified by the states. Boehner's plan leaves us still with an annual deficit of over $650 billion a year. It is an irresponsible plan that adds to our debt and deficit.

I didn't vote for Andy Harris to take us to default. His leadership has yet to surface- as he is now the Tea Party puppet....Whay really angers me is that during his campaign he seemed an advocate for Seniors and unfortunately I believed him. We've all been duped.

Anonymous,you're evidently stuck with Harris in the wishful world of thinking that the 2/3 of the Harry Reid-run senate would past a balanced budget amendment. That is grandeur delusion. Bypassing the Boehner plan means leaving Boehner with the option of recruiting Democrats (worsening the bill in your opinion) or taking the Harry Reid bill. Ideological purity sometimes leads to worse results than it intends. It's too bad some folks can't take their heads out the sand long enough to realize this.

rep Harris, you are demonstating that you have no interst in govening. You are only intersted in making a philosophical point. We can't aford that now. Just because you think you have a monoply on the truth, you are willing to bring the world to the brink of colla[pse. Are you that certain that you are right and m,any other peopel are that wrong?. Take the cuts you have on the table now and debate the structural reforms alowing the voters to decide on Nov 13,2012.

If Wisconsin can do it, why can't we. Perhaps it is time to think "recall". And from me, someone who voted for him. no hisday

I appreciate Congressman Harris' positions because not only does he advocate for seniors; he advocates for all people including my generation as well as my children's, so that they won't have to come of age in a banana republic because of the debt that is being run up by this as well as past administrations. He is trying to correct what generations of people have done in electing fiscally irresponsible politicians who have squandered the American dream for future generations by buying votes with their (future generations') money. Congressman Harris never made any bones about what he supported during his campaign, and that is why he was elected. He is not interested in promoting class or generational warfare, but is interested in saving the country.

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About the bloggers
Annie Linskey covers state politics and government for The Baltimore Sun. Previously, as a City Hall reporter, she wrote about the corruption trial of Mayor Sheila Dixon and kept a close eye on city spending. Originally from Connecticut, Annie has also lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she reported on war crimes tribunals and landmines. She lives in Canton.

John Fritze has covered politics and government at the local, state and federal levels for more than a decade and is now The Baltimore Sun’s Washington correspondent. He previously wrote about Congress for USA TODAY, where he led coverage of the health care overhaul debate and the 2010 election. A native of Albany, N.Y., he currently lives in Montgomery County.

Julie Scharper covers City Hall and Baltimore politics. A native of Baltimore County, she graduated from The Johns Hopkins University in 2001 and spent two years teaching in Honduras before joining The Baltimore Sun. She has followed the Amish community of Nickel Mines, Pa., in the year after a schoolhouse massacre, reported on courts and crime in Anne Arundel County, and chronicled the unique personalities and places of Baltimore City and its surrounding counties.
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