Oct 16 2013

AL.com: Alabama Senators Jeff Sessions, Richard Shelby vote against funding plan: "We’re kicking the can down the road"

Alabama's Jeff Sessions and Richard Shelby were among the 18 Senators casting "no" votes Wednesday night against the plan to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.

The Senate passed the measure on an 81-18 vote to send the bill to the House, which is expected to approve it just hours before a default. President Barack Obama said he would sign the bill, which will fund the government until Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.

Sessions, ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee, said the plan did nothing to solve Washington's spending problem.

"In the last five years, Washington spent more than $15 trillion and added more than $6 trillion to the debt. Never has so great a sum been spent for so little in return. Despite this huge stimulus spending, wages are lower than in 1999 and nearly 60 million working-age Americans aren't working. Fewer people are employed today than in 2007," Sessions said in a prepared statement.

Sessions said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the White House have adopted an "extreme stance," that is hurting middle class Americans.

"They demanded yet another increase in the debt limit – without cutting one single penny of spending," he said, adding the bill did little to find a permanent solution to the spending issue.

"With falling wages, $1 trillion in welfare spending, and a massive health law that no one can afford, now is the time to pursue a national reform agenda that serves working Americans."

Shelby, vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said he "firmly opposed" the legislation.

"We should fund the government and safeguard the full faith and credit of the United States. We should do both, however, by putting our nation on a more responsible fiscal path. This legislation fails to do so," he said.

"Once again, we are kicking the can down the road. In the meantime, the spending continues and our national debt grows unabated. The American people deserve better."