Rep. Melanie Stansbury explains ‘no’ vote on debt ceiling bill

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – The clock is ticking to pass a bipartisan compromise on the nation’s debt ceiling. That agreement passed the House Wednesday night. But it needs Senate approval, and the president’s signature by Monday to avoid a default on the nation’s debt.

Economic experts say if that doesn’t happen, it could be a disaster for everyone.

“Think about our debt ceiling as a way we preserve the national credit score,” said Reilly White, an associate professor of finance at UNM. “If you have a 401(k), you are holding U.S. debt. If you have a pension you have U.S. debt.” 

Representatives Gabe Vasquez and Teresa Leger Fernandez voted in favor of the bill. Rep. Melanie Stansbury joined 45 other Democrats to vote against the bill.

While the bill passed, it’s not a done deal. There is still opposition from both parties, including some from our own delegation on Capitol Hill.

Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury was the only representative from New Mexico to vote “no,” but she wasn’t the only Democrat to do so.

“I joined many of the folks in leadership who are committee ranking members who evaluated the bill closely, and voted based on its merits,” said Stansbury.  

Stansbury says she didn’t agree with the cuts this bill will make to environmental and COVID-19 relief programs, the new working requirements for SNAP and Food Stamps, and the fact this bill will restart student loans payments.

Stansbury says it wasn’t an easy vote to cast.

“Look, the final bill passed with 314 votes. We knew as a Democratic caucus that we could not allow our country to fail. I think every single Democrat was prepared to take a hard vote in either direction, whether you are somebody who voted for the deal at large, or voted for the bill itself — it was an equally hard vote,” Stansbury said. 

This bill was a deal negotiated by President Joe Biden and the Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy. While it did have bipartisan support, it also had bipartisan opposition.

“Over 70 members of the extremist GOP who drove us to this point voted against their own bill after they pushed to cut these programs, so I know the American people know what’s up. Our president understood the implications of what was coming, and I think the Senate understands on both sides of the aisle it’s their turn, and now they have to pass the bill,” Stansbury said. 

The next step for this bill is to pass the Senate before the Monday deadline.