Alabama's two Republican U.S. senators – Richard Shelby and Jeff Sessions -- are among the fiercest critics of the recently negotiated budget deal between President Barack Obama and legislative leaders, and they're calling on their GOP colleagues to vote against the agreement this week.
The House approved the deal Wednesday, and the Senate is expected to follow suit either Thursday night or Friday morning. The agreement includes raising the debt ceiling for two years while increasing both domestic and defense spending to avoid a government shutdown.
Shelby criticized the deal Thursday for being "unsustainable" because it runs up the debt by another $1.5 trillion and borrows at least $80 billion, adding to the debt. He also said he didn't like the agreement was hashed out in secret.
"It was negotiated at the last minute in the dark corridor somewhere. It's being rushed through Congress because the speaker's leaving," Shelby said, referring to erstwhile House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, retiring at the end of the month after he was replaced Thursday by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. "No conservative Republican should vote for that, period, because it's just a bad, bad deal."
"This budget deal ... is bad for the taxpayer it's bad for our future generations and it doesn't solve anything," Shelby added. "It's really a win for Obama. Obama wins here."
On the Senate floor, Sessions said the deal "is really problematic because it's filled with gimmicks."
Supporters of the deal "contend -- not correctly - that all this new spending is offset by new revenues or cuts in spending somewhere else," the senator said, adding that savings from entitlements should be used to shore up those programs. "This is a lot of gimmicks we have here, and secondly, if we got wasteful spending .... it ought to be used to reduce the deficit."
Sessions said the deal "exchanges instant increases in federal spending for distant, promised savings in the future" that are as much as 20 years down the road and "unlikely to occur."
"We need to be reducing the bureaucracy, not adding to it," he said.
The senator added that he's not optimistic that any "alleged savings" would be applied.
"My time in the Senate says promises about the future seldom come to pass in this body," Sessions said. "This is how a country goes broke and we are heading to financial catastrophe on the path we're going."