Black skips vote on budget deal; rest of TN delegation split

U.S. Rep. Diane Black, former House Budget Committee chair who is now running for governor, skipped voting on the $400 billion budget that stopped a brief federal government shutdown on Friday. The Tennessee congressional delegation was otherwise split in the voting.

In the Senate’s 72-28 vote, Sen. Lamar Alexander voted yes; Sen. Bob Corker no.

In the House’s 240-186 vote,  Republican Rep. Jimmy Duncan of Knoxville voted no along with Democratic Rep. Jim Cooper of Nashville. The state’s other Republican congressmen – Reps. Marsha Blackburn of Brentwood, Scott DesJarlais of South Pittsburg, Chuck Fleischmann of Ooltewah and David Kustoff of Memphis – voted yes and were joined by Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Memphis.

Further from The Tennessean:

A congressional aide said Black’s decision to not vote on the budget bill was influenced by Republicans’ move to work with Democrats on the measure.

“After Rep. Black worked to craft a budget that supported our military and reined in wasteful spending, Republicans went in another direction and cut a deal with (U.S. Sen.) Chuck Schumer and the Democrats to spend hundreds of billions of dollars on inefficient and wasteful government programs,” said Heather Douglass, a spokeswoman for Black’s office.

… Given her opposition to the budget bill, Black was not even in Washington, D.C. at the time of the early morning vote.

“Rep. Black’s no vote wouldn’t have prevented the bill’s passage and her time was better spent meeting with business leaders in Tennessee,” Douglass said.

Note: The original version of this post had Rep. Cohen’s vote wrong; he was a yes. The Cohen press release is HERE.

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