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South Dakota Senators Have Opposing Views on Budget Plan

The U-S Senate is continuing work on a new federal budget.  Senators hope to end the air of uncertainty that has plagued the government throughout the current deal.  They also want to eliminate any chance of another federal government shutdown. 

South Dakota U-S Senator Tim Johnson says he’s relieved a new budget is almost complete.  He says the new spending plan will save many jobs and keep the federal government running. 

Johnson says,  “The passing of the budget, addresses two looming physical crises in the new year.  The threat of another government shutdown and deep sequestration cuts in domestic and defense programs.  We can now get to regular order in the appropriations process, providing much needed certainty to federal agencies and our economy.”

Like most in the Senate, however, Johnson is happy the budget is a bi-partisan effort—but worries about some factions making things difficult.

“In a democracy" says Johnson, "there has to be give-and-take on both sides, and no one is going to get everything they want, including me.  I do remain concerned that some in the Tea Party Crowd have not learned this important lesson.”

Meanwhile, the reaction of South Dakota’s Junior Senator, Republican John Thune, is pretty blunt.

In Thune's words, “After reviewing the details of this proposal, it is not something I can support.  The bill breaks the budget caps—the spending limits that were put in place by the budget control act that we passed just two years ago, in 2011.  And it raises discretionary spending by 63 million dollars above the caps that were put in place.”

Thune believes the numbers from the Budget Control Act should stay put—he says federal spending has been reduced for two consecutive years.  Thune says that hasn’t happened since the 1950s.

Thune says, “In my view, there was a much better way to address this, and that’s to pass a clean funding resolution that funds the government for the next year, within the Budget Control Act levels—within the spending levels that were imposed by that legislation.  Essentially to follow the law, but also to give federal agencies more flexibility so they can move money around and help prioritize better.”

Both Thune and Johnson say the budget will pass the full Senate.