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Ohio's U.S. senators disagree on legislation to raise the federal debt ceiling

Inside the Capitol Rotunda, Washington D.C.
Jo Ingles
Statehouse News Bureau
Inside the Capitol Rotunda, Washington D.C.

Ohio’s two U.S. senators disagree on federal legislation to raise the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling.

The U.S. House voted 314 to 117 for the measure Wednesday. The Senate is expected to weigh in on it Friday. The plan has bipartisan support for and against it.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said he plans to vote for the legislation, which would increase the nation’s debt ceiling. The plan was hammered out by Republican U.S. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy and Democratic President Joe Biden.

“Default would be catastrophic. It’s something we can’t afford to do. It would cost people their jobs and their savings," Brown said.

Brown said passage of the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 is important to keep the nation from defaulting on its financial obligations.

“This is a bipartisan solution to prevent that economic disaster. And it protects what I was most interested in. It protects social security, Medicare, Medicaid and veterans’ benefits," Brown said.

But Republican U.S. Senator J.D. Vance opposes the bill, saying it doesn’t do enough to rein in unnecessary future spending. On Twitter he has questioned the elements of the bill.

Vance said he plans to introduce amendments he said would cut government waste and fraud. But he also said he thinks there are enough votes to pass the legislation in its current form without his support.

The legislation sets spending caps for the federal budget. But it also makes some policy changes. Those include:

  • A claw-back of approximately $27 billion in funding for federal agencies that was meant to fight the COVID-19 pandemic
  • An overhaul of permitting reviews for energy projects
  • Raises age limits for work requirements on certain federal safety net programs like food assistance
  • Creates exemptions that waive work requirements for veterans and those experiencing homelessness

The votes come just days before U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. could run out of money to pay its bills.

Contact Jo Ingles at jingles@statehousenews.org.