Budget Control Act of 2011 – the questions for NY voters

Now that the vote has finished, the Budget Control Act of 2011 is about to be presented to President Obama so he can sign it into law. But there remains a few questions about what happened in the final votes. As we are in New York, we will focus only on our elected officials.

The New York Senators voted:

Sen. Schumer – Yea
Sen. Gillibrand – Nay

The New York Representatives voted:

Representative Maurice Hinchey – No Vote

Votes Yea

Representative Timothy H. Bishop
Representative Chris Gibson
Representative Mike Grimm
Representative Richard Hanna
Representative Nan Hayworth
Representative Brian Higgins
Representative Kathy Hochul
Representative Steve Israel
Representative Peter T. King
Representative Nita M. Lowey
Representative Carolyn McCarthy
Representative Gregory W. Meeks
Representative Bill Owens
Representative Tom Reed

Votes Nay

Representative Gary L. Ackerman
Representative Ann Marie Buerkle
Representative Yvette D. Clarke
Representative Joseph Crowley
Representative Eliot L. Engel
Representative Carolyn B. Maloney
Representative Jerrold Nadler
Representative Charles B. Rangel
Representative José E. Serrano
Representative Louise M. Slaughter
Representative Paul Tonko
Representative Edolphus Towns
Representative Nydia M. Velázquez

The total was a split among the Senators, both Democrat. 14 Representatives voted Yea (8 out of 20 Democrats, 6 out of 7 Republicans). 13 voted Nay. 1 made no vote at all, a Democrat.

Is this a real reflection of New York? A virtual split of opinions?

We wonder, for those that voted Nay, and we realize that this was hardly an ideal compromise, why did they do so? Was it because they believe that the compromise was bad for the nation? Did they think that default was a better option (as no other plan was immediately available, and the 2 plans presented by Republicans were summarily rejected previously). Did they believe that since the deal was set, and would pass regardless of their vote they needed cover with their political supporters in the 2012 elections?

If this vote was decided by New York, would you have been satisfied with the vote of your Representative? Does it convey your thoughts and those of your neighbors? Would you have been willing to risk the consequences of default if the Bill did not pass? Do you think the votes, for or against, were motivated by politics or the will of constituents?

Most of all we have to ask, why did Rep. Maurice Hinchey not have an opinion? Out of 100 Senators and 433 Representtives he was 1 of only 3 elected officials to not take a vote. It was such an important issue even Rep. Giffords took the effort to appear and vote (and we will add we appalaud her for doing so). Does the continued failure of Rep. Hinchey to voice ANY opinion whatsoever on the debt reflect the needs of his constituents, that he is OBLIGATED to represent?

Add to these questions the odd stance of some. Senator Charles Schumer just sent out a letter that was, in our opinion inflammatory and grossly inaccurate. Yet he voted for the deal, which did little to support the position he offered as his stance. Was that out of political necessity or conviction? If conviction, then to what – his political Party or his personal beliefs or constituents? It’s not clear.

Looking at Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, she failed to respond to our letter as a constituent and member of the news media. If this reflects her attitude on the issue, that the only concern she needs to address is that of her political Party, what does her Nay vote mean? What does it mean to constituents on issues beside the national debt and deficit? That she will ignore their views and instead do whatever is politically expedient, or the will of President Obama and Senator Harry Reid over New Yorkers that she is sworn to represent.

Are we to take the failure of Rep. Maurice Hinchey to respond to the letter sent to him on this matter as also being a statement about his view of the voters. Does his lack of a vote imply that he neither cares nor is concerned with an important matter such as the deficit and debt? Are we to believe that he finds the voice of his constituents unimportant, even on matters vital to the nation?

Another view based on the lack of response from Sen. Gillibrand and Rep. Hinchey (the only ones we sent a letter to in NY besides Sen. Schumer, and did not respond to date) could be that constituents opposed the view of the Democrat Party in New York. Rather than expose that counter-position, potentially damaging their re-election chances and that of other Democrats, they might have elected to act as if they never heard from consituents at all.

We would like to believe that all the elected officials in New York acted with the desire for the best for constituents, AND in the manner as they were able to discern was the majority view of constituents. But in the absence of comment, with the reality of the consequences of the vote apparent, we can only ask questions and try to interpert the meaning of the votes.

Would you like to get better answers from your elected politician? Do you want to know why they made the vote they did, and/or why they responded to your views on the issue? It is not too late. You can still demand an answer. And if you don’t get a reasonable response, in a reasonable timeframe, there is the election in 2012.

We are not asking you to change your view. We are asking you to hold your elected official accountable, because they are accountable to you the voter. Not the other way around. No matter your Party affiliation, you deserve to have answers. If you can’t get them, that is what elections are for.

And we state again, as always, that if ANY elected official wishes to respond – written, via phone, or in a taped interview – we will provide them that opportunity. We will provide their words VERBATIM, as we have consistently done. Our readers can determine the value of the response for themselves.


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About the Author

Michael Vass
Born in 1968, a political commentator for over a decade. Has traveled the U.S. and lived in Moscow and Tsblisi, A former stockbroker and 2014 Congressional candidate. Passionate about politics with emphasis on 1st and 2nd Amendments.

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