Maui News

Hawai’i Delegation Votes in Support of Compromise Bill, Default Averted

August 2, 2011, 1:36 PM HST
* Updated August 2, 1:38 PM
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By Wendy Osher

File photo by Wendy Osher.

The U.S. Senate today voted 74 to 26 in favor of raising the debt ceiling, in an effort to meet the nation’s deadline to pay its bills on time.  Under the compromise legislation, the nation’s borrowing cap is raised, and more than $2 trillion in budget cuts is in store over the next 10 years.

U.S. Senator Daniel K. Inouye was among the members that voted in favor of the Reid motion that allows for a debt limit increase.

“This is not a deal that I take any great pride in but it is something we had to do for the good of the country,” said Sen. Inouye.  He called the cuts, “deep and significant,” saying government services will suffer because of them.

As Chairman of the Appropriations committee, Sen. Inouye said he would do everything in his power to ensure that the cuts do not adversely impact the neediest.

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Members of a Joint Committee will be tasked with the second round of deficit reduction required by the bill.  Sen. Inouye said it is of “utmost importance” that the Committee not deadlock and fail to produce the additional savings. “The triggers contained in this deal are real and would lead to extremely painful cuts to the Department of Defense, Medicare and domestic spending, if implemented,” said Sen. Inouye.

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Fellow U.S. Senator Daniel K. Akaka, said that he supported the compromise with “deep reservations.”

“Compromise by definition means that not everything we want is in there.  We now need to work to ensure the agreement does not harm programs Hawaii depends on,” said Sen. Akaka.

Meantime, the U.S. House approved the bill yesterday.  Congresswoman Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawaii) voted in favor of the bipartisan budget compromise that reduces the deficit and raises the debt ceiling in two stages through 2012.

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Hirono said she supported the agreement because the compromise raises the debt ceiling, reduces the deficit, and protects Social Security and Medicare.

“No one got everything they wanted in this compromise,” she said.  “It is not as balanced as I would have liked. At the same time, we were able to stop deep cuts to Medicare and Social Security that were part of earlier Republican plans,” said Rep. Hirono.

“What is most important to me – and to families in Hawaii — is that we avoided defaulting on our country’s obligations,” she said.  “Seniors, our military, and our veterans will receive their checks on time. Retirement accounts have been spared from taking another big hit. And now, we can focus on what we most need to do: creating jobs and getting our economy moving,” said Congresswoman Hirono.

During a press conference this morning, President Barack Obama said the bill is just the first step , and that both parties must work together on a larger plan for the long-term health of our economy.  He ended up signing the compromise bill to reduce the deficit and avert default.

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