Dec 12, 2014 1:31 PM
Paul Steinhauser: Kuster and Shea-Porter split over bill to prevent shutdown
NH1 Political Director - NH1.com
WASHINGTON, D.C. - New Hampshire's two congresswomen don't see eye-to-eye on the massive spending bill that narrowly passed the House of Representatives.
Rep. Carol Shea-Porter voted against the $1.1 trillion package, which will keep most federal government agencies running into next autumn, but fellow Democratic Rep. Annie Kuster supported the measure.
The House late Thursday evening voted 219 to 206 to pass the plan, with 162 Republicans and 57 Democrats supporting the measure. While the White House backed the bill, most House Democrats, including minority leader Nancy Pelosi, opposed the controversial package. Among the things they objected to are provisions in the bill that loosen regulations on banks and increase the amount of money individuals can donate to national party committees. Sixty-seven conservative House Republicans broke with the GOP House leadership and also voted against the measure, partially because it wasn't strong enough in opposing President Barack Obama's recent executive order on illegal immigration.
Shea-Porter said the bill was a win for special interests and bad for middle class taxpayers.
"Of course Congress had to keep the government open, but it should have been done by passing a continuing resolution that funded the government, but didn't contain these harmful provisions," said Shea-Porter, in a statement. "I strongly opposed the CROmnibus bill, which would hurt working Americans by allowing big-money bailouts for banks and rolling back already-inadequate campaign finance laws."
"In 2008, I voted against the bank bailouts and for policies that saved us from a depression. I am deeply concerned that this bill calls for a taxpayer-funded bailout for irresponsible institutions if they get themselves in trouble again. The bailout provision is just one of a number of special-interest victories in this bill. Another would raise campaign contribution limits, giving a small number of wealthy individuals even more leverage to drown out our middle class voices. Putting American taxpayers on the hook and gutting campaign finance laws is unacceptable, so I voted no," Shea-Porter added.
Kuster agreed that the bill had flaws but didn't want a repeat of last year's federal government shutdown.
"While I remain concerned about certain aspects of the so-called 'CRomnibus,' including a troublesome campaign finance provision that increases the donation-limits for party conventions and political parties, I believe that first and foremost it is our responsibility as members of Congress to work across the aisle to keep the government running. Last year's government shutdown was devastating for Granite State families; it put approximately 800,000 Americans out of work and wasted tens of millions of taxpayer dollars. Congress should never allow politics to get in the way of doing what's right for our constituents at home, so I'm pleased Democrats and Republicans were able to come together to pass this legislation and provide the certainty our country needs moving forward into the new year," said Kuster in a statement.
"Additionally, this bill contains important provisions that I've championed, including enhanced programs to reduce sexual assault in the military, and the renewal of critical job training programs that many Granite Staters rely on. It also includes legislation I fought for to establish a network for manufacturing innovation to support the creation of new high-tech manufacturing jobs across the country," Kuster added.
Kuster, who last month won re-election to a second term in the House, said, "In the new year, I will carry on my fight to reform our country's campaign finance system and reduce the role of big money in politics."
Shea-Porter was narrowly defeated in the midterms in her bid for a fourth term in Congress.
The bill to fund the government now heads to the U.S. Senate. The offices of Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte and Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen tell NH1 that the senators support the spending measure.