Kansas GOP in D.C. working against bill to lift debt ceiling, avoid government shutdown

House-passed legislation includes $28 billion for flood and wildfire relief

By: - September 23, 2021 11:07 am
U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, said he would vote against the House-passed resolution to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall, a Kansas Republican, said he would vote against the House-passed resolution to avoid a shutdown of the federal government. (Screen capture/Kansas Reflector)

TOPEKA — U.S. Sen. Roger Marshall vowed not to support the stopgap funding bill adopted by the House raising the federal borrowing limit, temporarily funding the government to prevent a shutdown and earmarking $28 billion for natural disaster relief.

The legislation cleared the House on a party-line vote Tuesday with the Kansas delegation’s three Republicans opposed and lone Democrat in support.

“We Republicans are united in the fact that we will not assist in passing another reckless, big-government-socialism package designed to reshape the nation and make Americans more dependent on the government,” said Marshall, the Kansas Republican elected in 2020 to replace retired Sen. Pat Roberts.

Marshall’s speech on the Senate floor included a reference to President Franklin Roosevelt, a Democrat who pushed through Depression-era New Deal programs. He said Roosevelt believed government relief could become a narcotic destructive to the “human spirit” and a contributor to “spiritual and moral disintegration.”

Marshall joined Senate Republicans who threatened to sink the bill keeping the government running through Dec. 3 and suspending the debt ceiling until December 2022. Under Senate rules, cooperation from at least 10 Republicans would be required to defeat a filibuster of the bill.

In August, Marshall and U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran, a Kansas Republican, signed a letter pledging not to vote for an increase in the debt ceiling. They indicated Democrats could unilaterally raise the ceiling through a process called reconciliation that didn’t require GOP support.

To prevent a federal government shutdown, the U.S. Congress will likely need to agree to a funding plan by Sept. 30. If not, the treasury could run out of options for paying its bills in October.

In the House delegation, Republican Rep. Jake Laturner of the 2nd District in eastern Kansas, Rep. Ron Estes of the 4th District around Wichita and Rep. Tracey Mann of the rural 1st District voted against the resolution. U.S. Rep. Sharice Davids, a Democrat from the Kansas City area, voted for the bill. It passed, 220-211.

The debt ceiling has previously been increased on a bipartisan basis, including votes by the Republican-led Congress under former President Donald Trump.

LaTurner said Democratic leadership in the House were intent on using the situation to push through a $3.5 trillion spending package.

“To make matters even worse,” he said, “Democrats are using this legislation to raise the debt ceiling to pay for their out-of-control federal spending at a time when the United States is nearly $29 trillion in debt.”

Estes said he was disappointed Washington politicians were willing to pass more government debt to future generations in exchange for enactment of political wish lists.

“Increasing the debt ceiling while also proposing trillions in new spending is reckless,” he said.

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Tim Carpenter
Tim Carpenter

Tim Carpenter has reported on Kansas for 35 years. He covered the Capitol for 16 years at the Topeka Capital-Journal and previously worked for the Lawrence Journal-World and United Press International.