Senator Carl Levin speaks about 'no budget, no pay' bill - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Senator Carl Levin speaks about 'no budget, no pay' bill

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(01/31/13) - Thursday, the U.S. Senate passed a "no budget, no pay" bill. It now heads to the President for his signature.

The bill temporarily extends the country's debt-ceiling deadline until May. It also says if the Senate doesn't pass a budget, no lawmakers should get paid.

ABC12's Washington Correspondent Ted Fioraliso sat down with Senator Carl Levin before the vote to get his take on the bill.

When the House passed the "no budget, no pay" bill last week, the vote came down mostly along party lines with Democrats like Dan Kildee voting no - calling it a "political gimmick." But Democratic Senator Carl Levin has a different take.

"I don't mind the connection to the budget. I just don't like these short-term extensions. I think it creates uncertainty about whether the United States is credit-worthy or not," he said.

If the debt-limit isn't extended, the U.S. could default on its loans and receive another downgrade in its credit rating. Levin says there's no justification for that, and thinks the Senate will pass the bill. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that will happen. Still, Levin is uncertain about his vote.

"I don't like the short-term nature of it, so if they don't need my vote to pass it, I might vote against it just on that principle. But if I need to vote because there's no alternative but to pay our bills, then I would vote for it," he said.

Then there's that other fiscal deadline coming up in March - sequestration - when mandatory cuts to federal programs go into effect. Levin says there can be a long-term solution, but it has to be bipartisan.

"It has to be comprehensive, it has to include revenues and reductions in spending - both discretionary and entitlement. But it can't just be cuts in spending, which is what the Republicans want," he said.

Levin says he's focusing on closing corporate tax loopholes, which he says would help raise revenue.

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