Some Tough Votes for Dems on the Hill
Vulnerable Democrats, four of them from Virginia, took some tough votes Wednesday on Capitol Hill: one to increase the federal debt limit by $290 billion, and another to spend $75 billion in surplus bailout funds to stimulate job growth.
U.S. Rep. Gerald E. Connolly (D-Va.) of Northern Virginia's 11th District continued to stake out a position of fiscal caution by voting against the jobs bill. Connolly said it makes no sense to appropriate more money when stimulus funds are still being spent and are finally starting to make a difference. And although the bill contains some appealing details particularly for regions hard hit by unemployment (such as $23 billion for states to hire teachers, police officers and firefighters), Connolly objected to spending bailout money without first committing much of it to deficit reduction.
"The stimulus is working," Connolly said. "Let's give it a chance to work."
Rep. Glenn C. Nye of Virginia Beach's 2nd District also voted against the jobs bill, which barely passed by a vote of 217-212. Both Nye and Connolly represent districts with much lower unemployment rates than other parts of Virginia.
Nye joined Rep. Tom Perriello of central and southern Virginia's 5th District in voting against the debt-ceiling bill, also which passed narrowly by a vote of 218 to 214 and would allow government to exceed its $12.1 trillion debt limit by $290 billion. The measure, which now heads to the Senate, is smaller in scope as a result of objections raised by fiscally conservative Democrats.
Nye, Perriello, and to a lesser degree Connolly, all face challenging reelections next year. So might Rep. Rick Boucher of southwest Virginia's 9th District, but Boucher voted with the Democratic majority on both bills (as did Virginia's two safest and most liberal Democrats, James P. Moran Jr. of the inner Washington suburbs' 8th District and Robert C. Scott of southeastern Virginia's 3rd District).
All five Virginia Republicans in Congress voted against both bills.
December 17, 2009; 7:00 AM ET
Categories: 2010 Virginia Congressional Races , Amy Gardner , Election 2010 , Gerald E. Connolly , Glenn Nye , Tom Perriello
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