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Davids, Estes and LaTurner Help Carry Debt-ceiling Bill, Leave Mann Alone in Opposition


By Tim Carpenter, Kansas Reflector


TOPEKA — Three of four Kansas members of the U.S. House voted to approve the debt-ceiling bill despite protesting provisions of the deal worked out by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

A bipartisan majority in the House passed the legislation Wednesday on a vote 314-117 with support from Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids of the 3rd District and Republican Reps. Jake LaTurner of the 2nd District and Ron Estes of the 4th District.

The Kansas delegation’s lone dissenter in the House was GOP Rep. Tracey Mann, who represents the 1st District stretching from Colorado to Lawrence. He was among 71 House Republicans and 46 House Democrats who rejected the bill. Overall, 165 Democrats and 149 GOP members supported the measure.

Davids said it was imperative the federal government avoided a first-ever default on financial obligations and saved the national economy from potential catastrophe. The bill sent to the U.S. Senate would enable the federal government to pay bills without dealing with the debt limit until January 2025.

“This deal is not perfect, but compromise from both sides was necessary to reach a final agreement,” she said. “It accomplishes the core priorities I pushed for. We agreed to pay our bills. We avoided cuts to Social Security, Medicare and veterans’ benefits. And we agreed to move onto a bipartisan path to address our nation’s budgetary challenges without holding our economy hostage.”

She expressed optimism the U.S. Senate would promptly endorse the measure so it could be signed into law by Biden by Monday.

“Moving forward, I stand ready to work with the Republican majority to find common ground in lowering our debt,” Davids said. “We can balance our budget with pragmatism — not extremism — by eliminating wasteful spending and closing tax loopholes that allow billion-dollar corporations to avoid paying their fair share.”

LaTurner, who was the Kansas state treasurer before elected to Congress, said defaulting on the nation’s debt would have resulted in a global financial crisis that harmed Kansas families.

“I don’t agree with everything in this bill, but in divided government we can’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good,” LaTurner said.

He said he appreciated the bill protected payments to veterans and retirees, increased work mandates for people on food stamps and clawed back unspent COVID-19 aid. The bill is expected to curtail spending by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.

Estes, representing the district anchored by Wichita, said the federal government wouldn’t quickly resolve the nation’s $31 trillion debt. He was pleased the legislation forbid the IRS from starting the process of hiring 87,000 new enforcement agents authorized in the past.

“While I wish it went further, the bill presents the most aggressive spending cuts that will become law that I’ve ever had an opportunity to vote on. I’ll continue fighting for more fiscal reforms to protect taxpayers from Washington’s insatiable desire to spend your money,” he said.

Mann voted against the negotiated compromise, but had endorsed deeper spending cuts in the debt-limit bill that was adopted by the U.S. House in April.

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, said the federal government was spending more now than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. He said it was unsustainable and represented “the greatest threat to our country’s national security.”

“I don’t blame Speaker McCarthy. I think he negotiated the best he could,” Marshall said. “Kevin did the best job he could, but I am not satisfied. I cannot put my name on this legislation.”