For a few months at least, you can rest a little easier thanks to Congress' eleventh-hour decision to reopen the federal government, lift the debt ceiling, and not send the country plunging over the cliff it's been careering toward so ominously. The last-minute display of sanity came with no help from Texas Republicans, not a single one of whom voted for the deal.
Why? To pander to an increasingly conservative primary electorate, of course, but no one actually comes out and says that. Instead, they issue statements cloaking their decision as a matter of principle. Here's a rundown of the explanations given by North Texas' Republican Congressional delegation.
Pete Sessions, Dallas: "I did not support the bill tonight because I believe that this was a missed opportunity to address our nation's long-term fiscal challenges. As this fight moves forward, I will continue to work to protect North Texans from ObamaCare and reduce out-of-control government spending in order to jumpstart our economy and reenergize job growth."
Ted Cruz: "Unfortunately, once again, it appears the Washington establishment is refusing to listen to the American people. The deal that has been cut provides no relief to the millions of Americans who are hurting because of Obamacare. The deal that has been cut provides no relief to all the young people coming out of school who can't find a job because of Obamacare. It provides no relief to all the single parents who have been forced into part-time work, struggling to feed their kids on 29 hours a week. It provides no relief to all the hard-working families who are facing skyrocketing health insurance premiums. And it provides no relief to all the seniors, to all the people with disabilities who are right now getting in the mail notifications from their health insurance companies that they're losing their health insurance because of Obamacare."
John Cornyn: [posted to Facebook by his staff] "For over 5 years, Pres. Obama has sat on the sidelines while our economy has remained stagnant and our debt has nearly doubled. Year after year, the President has pledged to deal with our fiscal crisis and has done nothing but stick his head in the sand.
"Sen. Cornyn is hopeful that in the coming weeks and months we can do what the President has repeatedly failed to do: address our long-term spending problems."
Michael Burgess, Lewisville: [from an interview with The Dallas Morning News last week] "Good lord no."
Louie Gohmert, Tyler: "I'm not going to be able to support it. It basically lets the president and [Senate Majority Leader] Harry Reid have unmitigated control over all the money they want, when the Founders expected both the House and the Senate would play a role in the government...For this government to continue on as a republican form of democracy, we have to have both houses contribute, and not one just shutting the other off."
Ralph Hall, Rockwall: Washington's $17 trillion spending habit has weakened America's economy to the point where only 63.2% of Americans are participating in the work force. American families are struggling. This Administration has demonstrated its lack of fiscal restraint and responsibility, and now more than ever, taxpayers shouldn't be asked to hand the federal government more money without dollar-for-dollar spending cuts. Anything less is irresponsible.
"Throughout this government shutdown, my constituents called and wrote to my office. An overwhelming majority asked I vote for a budget solution that reins in spending, doesn't increase the debt, and works to defund 'Obamacare.' The constituents of the 4th District elected me to represent their views in Washington, and I take this responsibility seriously. That is why I voted against the Senate's budget deal today - it does not respect the views and concerns of the majority of those I represent."
Joe Barton, Ennis: "Speaker Boehner just announced to the Republican Conference he will put the Senate bill to reopen the government until January 15, and pass a debt extension until February 7 on the floor tonight. Since there are no cost savings to reduce the deficit, and no plan to even address excessive government spending, I will vote 'no.'"
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Jeb Hensarling, Dallas: "Unfortunately, the president has tried to conflate default on our sovereign debt with failure to unconditionally raise the debt ceiling. They are not one in the same...The president has the legal, financial, and logistical means to avoid a catastrophic default on our sovereign debt...
"Second, every day I hear from constituents across my district whose hours have been cut or whose health care premiums have gone up because of Obamacare. Regrettably, tens of millions are being forced into health care they do not want, at prices they cannot afford, on a website that does not work. I will not quit working to replace the government takeover of our health care system with patient centered health care...
"[O]ur nation is on an unsustainable spending path. And the refrain from too many in Washington and on Wall Street continues to be 'we will deal with that later.'
"Not only as a Congressman, but as the father of an 11-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son, I cannot, in good conscience, support an unconditional increase in the national debt ceiling without any plan or commitment to begin dealing with the debt today. Later no longer suffices."