WASHINGTON — Sen. John Boozman, R-Ark., opposed legislation that cleared the Senate Thursday to suspend the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling until May.
The legislation, which President Obama is expected to sign into law, is needed to avoid a potential government default as the Treasury Department bumped up against the borrowing limit.
“With taxes off the table we must focus on government spending. Our nation’s rising debt is reckless and we must adopt a mechanism such as a Balanced Budget Amendment to prevent us from continuing down this fiscally irresponsible path,” Boozman said. “We missed an opportunity with this legislation to rein in our spending problem and make serious cuts to avoid financial problems in the future.”
Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., voted for the bill, which passed 64-34.
“Despite my frustration with these short-term measures, I voted for this bill because I don’t want to put our economy or credit rating at risk,” Pryor said. “Going forward, I hope we will roll up our sleeves and work together to find a long-term solution that reduces spending and stabilizes our debt.”
The House approved the bill last week, 285-144, with the backing of the Arkansas delegation.
House Republicans supported the bill because it included language to force the Democrat-controlled Senate to pass a budget by April 16 or else have their pay placed in escrow.
Senate Republicans offered several amendments to the bill that were rejected.
Boozman supported a provision that would have required any increase in debt to be accompanied by corresponding spending cuts. Pryor opposed it.
Boozman also supported a measure to block the sale of F-16 aircraft, M1 tanks and other military equipment to Egypt. Pryor opposed the amendment.