(PatriotWise.com) — Democratic Senator John Fetterman said he voted against the debt ceiling deal because of its proposals on food stamps. Fetterman, who represents Pennsylvania, was one of five Democrats to reject the agreement negotiated between President Biden and Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy just before a deadline imposed by the US Treasury. The agreement was passed through the Senate on June 1st by 63 votes to 36.
One of the elements of the deal changes eligibility requirements for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Formerly known as food stamps, able-bodied Americans with no dependents can only qualify for help if they perform specified work requirements. This applied to people under the age of 49. Under the new agreement, the age is raised to 54.
Senator Fetterman said, “I won’t give Republicans an opening to try and take food from more food insecure Americans in Farm Bill negotiations later this year. That is why I voted no tonight.”
The Congressman urged President Biden to use the 14th Amendment to the Constitution to avoid a similar stand-off in the future. The two parties were deadlocked for weeks before the agreement was reached, and some Democrats said Biden should have used Constitutional powers to avoid negotiating with Republicans. However, several lawyers urged caution, saying this could have caused a Constitutional crisis.
Democrats Edward Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts also voted against the bill, as did veteran Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders.
The Vermont Senator said the deal was completely unnecessary, and he would not vote for anything that reduced benefit entitlements. Like Fetterman, Sanders said the President should have evoked the 14th Amendment and should not have agreed to cooperate with Republicans. He referred to the GOP as the “extreme right-wing” who had been allowed to hold the country to ransom until they got what they wanted.
President Biden and Speaker McCarthy both called the deal a “win.”
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