May 15, 2011

Jonathan Riskind: Senators could face tough vote on debt cap

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Little of substance has gotten done in the Senate this year, so a concerted effort will be needed this summer to raise the workload, Snowe said.

"It's going to have to be systematic. ... We're going to have to set priorities and we're going to have to control growth in some of the programs, and others are going to be reduced," Snowe said. "These are not things you can summarily cobble together."

Collins has indicated that she isn't wedded to immediate spending cuts. Rather, she is looking at "procedural" budget reforms that ensure spending cuts but give lawmakers time to hash out the specifics.

"There are some who are looking at putting actual cuts on the debt ceiling, which is a different approach," Collins said. "I want to hear more from my colleagues on what they are thinking about, but to me, putting procedural reforms would help to pave the way for the cuts that we must consider later this year."

Snowe notes that while it's pretty easy for the majority to pass a vote along party lines in the House, it's different in the Senate, where 60 votes are needed to pass any bill that is controversial.

That means "there is going to have to be movement on both sides," Snowe said. "In Maine, there is a saying, 'How do you get there from here?' And that is the key question. How do we?"

MaineToday Media Washington Bureau Chief Jonathan Riskind can be contacted at 791-6280 or at:


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