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Vermont's Rep. Becca Balint leaning 'no' on debt ceiling deal

A photo of a woman at a microphone
Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Associated Press
Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt., speaks during a news conference Nov. 13, 2022.

U.S. Representative Becca Balint said she's "leaning no" on a debt ceiling compromise reached this weekend by President Joe Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy.

Backers say the plan is needed to avoid a national budget default and the subsequent fallout that could start early next week.

When the debt ceiling compromise was unveiled Saturday night, Balint said she generally supported it and expected to vote "yes" on the bill.

But then she learned more at a congressional briefing on Sunday.

"By the end of the day yesterday I was leaning no," Balint said in an interview Tuesday, "so I'm still waiting to hear some answers from the White House on some of the details — not to just take the top line as it appears it the news."

Balint said she's concerned that defense spending is protected in the agreement, while funding for several significant social programs is not.

"And we haven't gotten a clear answer yet on how it is those programs are going to be paid for," Balint said in an interview Tuesday. "Those are incredibly important to all working families in Vermont."

And she said the deal unexpectedly greenlights a controversial gas pipeline in West Virginia that's opposed by a number of environmental groups.

"This was not part of any conversation that we have been having in the lead up to this deal," Balint said, "so there's a reason why this pipeline has been mired in slow downs."

Balint said Tuesday she hoped the White House and Speaker McCarthy will reopen negotiations to address these concerns because a national default could cause enormous economic harm.

The House of Representatives is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday.

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Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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