McCandless Democrat Jason Altmire was one of six Democrats to vote with House Republicans today on a resolution against increasing the U.S. debt ceiling.
Democratic leaders in the House were dead set against it. From The Hill:
Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) called it a "political stunt," and House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said the vote was designed to give Republicans the appearance that they oppose the debt ceiling increase, even though the increase was all but assured in legislation that Congress approved last year.
"This is a game that will say, see, I voted against debt," Hoyer said.
But it's not a surprising move from the congressman, who often points to having an "independent voice" in D.C. (including in a recent web video introducing himself to the new 12th District). In a similar move today, he also criticized President Obama's rejection of the Keystone pipline. From the Democrat:
“The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline permit is a missed opportunity to drastically turn this economy around. This pipeline would have created thousands of new jobs and helped to ensure our energy independence. Make no mistake, this pipeline will be built, but now Canadian jobs will be created and China and its markets will benefit from the oil transported through this pipeline. At a time when American families and businesses are saving to cover rising fuel costs, a pipeline to the Gulf Coast could provide a savings to them. I strongly urge the president to reconsider his objection to this pipeline. The positive impact it can have on our country is too great to pass up.”
UPDATE: Altmire's rival for the Democratic nomination in the new 12th District, Mark Critz, also criticized the president's move. (The pipeline, incidentally, had a good deal of labor support.) His statement:
“I disagree with today’s decision to deny the approval of the pending application for the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. I have said all along that if the states where this pipeline runs are supportive, then the federal government should not stand in the way of its construction.
“I will continue to work to make this project a reality because of its immense implications to our country’s domestic energy, economic and national security needs.”