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Thune and Rounds oppose raising debt ceiling after helping clear the way for a vote

Republican U.S. Sens. John Thune, left, and Mike Rounds, both of South Dakota.

South Dakota’s two U.S. senators helped clear the way for a vote on raising the debt ceiling Thursday. But then they voted against the actual bill.

Failing to raise the debt ceiling by Oct. 18 would cause the government to default on its debts for the first time.

Republicans John Thune and Mike Rounds are among 11 senators in their party who voted to end debate on the debt-ceiling bill. That allowed Democrats to bring it up for a vote.

Thune and Rounds then voted against raising the debt ceiling. But the bill passed 50-48.

Thune said Democrats will use the higher ceiling to over-spend. Democrats are proposing a $3.5 trillion bill addressing health care, safety-net programs and the environment.

“This bill is effectively instituting multiple, permanent entitlement programs," Thune said on the Senate floor. "And the long-term costs of those programs are not going to be covered by the tax hikes Democrats are currently proposing, as massive as those tax hikes are.”

Debates on that bill lie ahead. The House of Representatives will consider the debt limit next week. The bill would extend the government’s borrowing authority into December.

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