W.Va. reps split on budget deal
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- West Virginia's House of Representatives members were split on a budget agreement that passed the House Thursday evening.
By a 332-94 vote, the U.S. House easily passed the Ryan-Murray agreement, a two-year bipartisan plan meant to prevent future government shutdowns and ease across-the-board spending cuts.
Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., and Rep. Nick Rahall, D- W.Va., voted for the budget deal, while Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., voted against the measure.
In a written statement released Thursday evening, Capito said the bill does not contain everything she would want in a budget agreement, but she called it a step forward.
"I am pleased that it will give certainty to the economy and small businesses, eliminating the threat of a government shutdown," Capito said. "This legislation reduces our deficit by making smarter, targeted cuts. This agreement is a responsible step forward, one that I hope will lay the groundwork for future timely and balanced budgets."
Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., negotiated the plan, which the White House also endorsed. The plan, which will next go to the Senate for a vote, would set overall spending levels for this budget year and the next. It would also likely take away the chance of another government shutdown.
McKinley, in a written statement explaining his vote, said he came to Congress in 2011 with a pledge to reduce spending and stop saddling future generations with debt. Progress has been made since then, he said.
"Unfortunately, this deal reverses some of the progress we've made," McKinley said. "It increases spending for the next two years but promises to save money in the future. According to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office, most of the savings would come seven years from now.
"The deal also hits close to home in West Virginia by abolishing an important program run at the National Energy Technology Laboratory in Morgantown. This particular energy research program supports approximately 80 jobs. Eliminating it diminishes one of the vital roles NETL plays to our local and national economy.
"While I applaud the fact that bipartisan discussions on the budget took place for the first time in five years, unfortunately the final product falls short. America's debt continues to grow, reaching $17.2 trillion. Just like American families, Washington must be serious about living within its means."
On Wednesday, Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., voiced their support for the budget plan.