The $38.5 billion in 2011 budget cuts agreed to by President Barack Obama and Senate Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid in order to avert a government shutdown turned out to be too deep for many New York Democrats.
Obama and Reid reached an agreement with Republican House Speaker John Boehner shortly before a shutdown would have begun at midnight Friday.
Eleven Democrats from New York City voted against the $2 billion in immediate cuts that are part of the deal.
The measure approved by the House 348-70 and in Senate by a voice vote was signed into law early Saturday morning by President Barak Obama. It keeps the government operating through Thursday while imposing $2 billion in immediate spending cuts.
The larger cuts will be voted on by Congress Wednesday or Thursday and will keep the government operating through the Sept. 30 end of the fiscal year.
Rep. Jerrold Nalder, one of the 11 no votes from New York City, said in a phone interview this evening he felt the cuts were aimed at the city because they involved transit, public housing and other programs important to the metropolitan area.
“I don’t like the whole agreement,” Nadler said. “I think the cuts are too big.”
Nadler said lawmakers didn’t know the programs targeted for the $2 billion in cuts until just before the vote.
High speed passenger rail will be cut by $1.5 billion, capital investment grants by $280 million, public housing operating funds by $149 million and the university community fund by $25 million.
Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of the Bronx also voted no.
“While it is beneficial to avoid a government shutdown, a deal for the sake of making a deal is often a bad one,” Engel said.