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Funding for government lapses as short-term spending bill stalls in the Senate

Noem votes against shutdown deal; Thune, Johnson vote in favor

Kristi Noem stood alone among South Dakota’s congressional delegation Wednesday night as she voted against a deal to end the federal government shutdown.

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Noem, a Republican and the state’s lone member of the House of Representatives, cast a no vote on the legislation. It still passed the House 285-144 and, having already passed the Senate 81-18, went to the president to end the shutdown and avoid a default on the government’s debt.

“This agreement will reopen the government and stop any talk of a default, which are both good things,” Noem said late Wednesday night in a written statement. “However, I could not support this bill because it didn’t do anything to address our continued deficit spending, which has resulted in a $17 trillion debt.”

South Dakota’s U.S. senators both voted in favor of the legislation to end the shutdown. The measure would permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer, and fund the government through Jan. 15.

Sen. Tim Johnson, a Democrat, praised the agreement and condemned the role played in the shutdown by House Republicans -- including Noem, though Johnson did not name her -- who tried unsuccessfully to use the shutdown and a potential default on the government’s debt as leverage in their attempt to weaken the Affordable Care Act.

“By holding firm in opposition to the House attempts at extortion, I hope that President Obama has permanently closed the door to the possibility of government default by either Republicans or Democrats,” Johnson said in a written statement. “A key piece of the agreement is jump-starting a constructive budget process to find real solutions to address our deficit in a setting free of hostage-taking.”

Sen. John Thune, a Republican, issued a written statement that was resigned in its tone.

“We fought hard to protect as many Americans as possible from Obamacare, and that fight doesn't end today, but we're now 16 days into a shutdown and risking a possible default, and Congress needs to end this impasse,” Thune said. “This isn’t a perfect proposal, it’s far from it, but it will ensure that we don’t blow past the default date that’s been set by the Treasury, and it will force Congress to have a broad debate about Washington's dangerous levels of spending and debt, which are hamstringing the economy and mortgaging our children's futures. This debate should be an opportunity to focus on fiscal policies that will actually grow the economy and strengthen the middle class.”