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Dem Rep. Won't Say If He Regrets Voting Against Debt Ceiling Under Bush

WOLF BLITZER, CNN: Have you always voted to raise the debt ceiling?

REP. STEVE ISRAEL (D-NY): I voted against it several times BLITZER: Why?

ISRAEL: -- we're now in a situation

BLITZER: During the Bush administration?


BLITZER: But why would you vote against it then and say that the Republicans now can't vote against it


BLITZER: -- if you have that experience?

ISRAEL: Because I was concerned that we continued to pass supplemental appropriations for the war in Iraq without sufficient oversight. And so in that case

BLITZER: But were you afraid

ISRAEL: -- I felt that the president

BLITZER: -- the U.S. would default?

ISRAEL: No, no, I was concerned that we were writing blank checks to -- to fund Iraq. We are

BLITZER: Do you regret those votes?

ISRAEL: -- we are now -- we are now in a situation -- oh, I regret my vote to authorize the use of force in Iraq.

BLITZER: No. But do you regret the vote to not extend the debt ceiling?

ISRAEL: Well, the debt ceiling actually

BLITZER: Because the president voted against

ISRAEL: -- it -- it passed (ph).

BLITZER: -- raising the debt ceiling when he was


BLITZER: -- a senator in 2006. He says he regrets that vote.

ISRAEL: We are now at a point, today, where you have the ratings agencies who are putting us on a negative alert. We were downgraded last year. And so we are at a time where we've got to stop this. You know, Darrell said it, we've got to stop the brinksmanship.

But my suggestion would be to stop the brinksmanship. We have an opportunity. Here's -- look, we are at that point. We have an opportunity

BLITZER: All right.

ISRAEL: -- to pass a clean debt ceiling, pass a clean

BLITZER: The next couple of hours


BLITZER: -- are going to be critical.

ISRAEL: It's time.

BLITZER: Let's hope you guys can get that act together, because as I've been saying, the stakes are enormous right now.

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