The former Johnson City mayor and local physician released the following statement:
“I am very disappointed the Senate was unable to reach an acceptable agreement. Our crippling national debt is one of the largest threats to American prosperity, and we missed an opportunity to further reduce the size of government and get out-of-control spending in check. I strongly believe that deficit reduction, either through entitlement reform or discretionary spending reductions, must be a part of any measure to raise the debt ceiling.
“I voted for the Budget Control Act in 2011. While that agreement was far from perfect, we have reduced total Federal spending for two years in a row for the first time since the Korean War. It’s working, but that’s not enough if we want to get this country back on track. We must continue to cut wasteful spending.
“We’re in this situation because of the failures of both parties. This problem wasn’t caused by just Democrats or just Republicans; it is the result of decades of wasteful, reckless spending, and it has to stop. When you’re borrowing more than 40 cents on every dollar you spend, you have a problem. It’s not sustainable.
“With regard to ObamaCare, all we’re asking for is fairness. How can you threaten to fine individuals for failing to sign up for health insurance when they are unable to see what they’re supposed to purchase? While the president and his party are still unwilling to concede that his health care plan has real problems, we are going to continue having the conversation about how we can ensure individuals are given the same treatment that the president extended to businesses.”
Update noon Thursday: Press Staff Writer Nathan Baker participated in a conference call with the congressman and asked about his vote against the budget deal. Read Friday's print edition and return to JohnsonCityPress.com for the story.