Congresswoman Loretta Sanchez (D-Santa Ana) was one of six Southern California Democrat House members who voted against the budget bill because it didn't include an extension of unemployment benefits.
Maybe it was the season — goodwill towards man and all that. By a vote of 332-94, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bipartisan budget deal Thursday. Nearly an equal number of Republicans (169) and Democrats (163) gave a nod to the deal that includes $23 billion in deficit reduction and reverses the sequester cuts made earlier this year.
It's a bill nobody really loves, including the California delegation.
Republican Congressman Darrell Issa of Vista voted yes, saying "this was the best deal" that Wisconsin Republican Paul Ryan, "a conservative that all of us trust," could get without a government shutdown. Ryan, along with Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington, crafted the budget compromise. Issa says Americans want economic continuity. But he says the reduction in the deficit is tiny, equal to just "one Hurricane Sandy."
Ten Californians voted no. Two Republicans — Tom McClintock of Granite Bay and Dana Rohrabacher of Huntington Beach — joined eight Democrats, including Karen Bass of Los Angeles, Judy Chu of El Monte, Gloria Negrete McLeod of Montclair, Maxine Waters of Los Angeles, and both Sanchez sisters, Linda of Lakewood and Loretta of Santa Ana.
Loretta Sanchez calls the budget a "short term band-aid" and "an excuse to go home" for the holidays. Sanchez doesn't like the change in military pensions that were included in the deal without consulting the House Armed Services Committee on which she sits. She, like most Democrats, also wanted an extension of unemployment benefits included in the deal. Democrats say they'll raise the issue again when members return in January.
But Los Angeles Democrat Tony Cardenas says leaving town won't make the unemployment benefits issue go away. He says Republicans will hear about it from constituents back home, even those outside urban areas. "A lot of the unemployment rates in rural areas are at the far end of the double digits."
Members quickly fled the Capitol, headed back to their districts until January 7th.
The Senate will vote on the budget agreement next week.