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Correction
Because of a reporting error, a previous online version of this story failed to report that Reps. Susan Brooks, R-5th, and Todd Young, R-9th, voted in favor of the legislation.
Cliff Owen | Associated Press
Visitors enter the Smithsonian's Air and Space Museum after it opened on time, in Washington, on Thursday.

Hoosier votes, views deviate on fiscal plan

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., readily endorsed the federal budget plan approved by Congress on Wednesday.

Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., grudgingly accepted the measure.

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, rejected it outright.

Stutzman has been among conservative lawmakers demanding that President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act be delayed or eliminated as part of a deal to temporarily extend appropriations that expired Sept. 30.

"Hoosier families are struggling under the weight of Obamacare's job-killing mandates and the nation's crushing $17 trillion debt," Stutzman said in a statement ahead of the 285-144 House vote. "This bill does nothing to provide relief of those issues or end special treatment for members of Congress under Obamacare and therefore I will oppose it."

Five of the seven Republican House members from Indiana voted against the legislation, and both Democrats voted for it. Reps. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd, and Luke Messer, R-6th, issued statements saying they were glad the government shutdown would end.

Reps. Susan Brooks, R-5th, and Todd Young, R-9th, voted in favor of the legislation.

Coats, too, opposes the Affordable Care Act. But he joined a bipartisan 81-18 Senate majority in passing the three-month fiscal compromise that will reopen parts of the government closed since Oct. 1.

"While I deplore supporting yet another short-term Band-Aid, the only thing worse would be a continued government shutdown, the United States defaulting on its debt obligations and the elimination of the spending reductions enacted by Congress in 2011," Coats said in a statement.

"I am disappointed with this outcome," he said. "but my commitment to reducing our debt, growing the economy and getting Americans back to work will not waver."

Earlier in the day, Donnelly pledged to vote for the agreement reached by the Senate's Democratic and Republican leaders, saying it closely resembled recommendations produced by a group of 14 moderate senators who have been meeting together in recent weeks.

Donnelly described the work of the group, led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and consisting of seven Republicans, six Democrats and an independent.

"Everybody basically left their political label at the door and worked nonstop," he said.

"It was negotiations where a number of people had different positions," he said. "Nobody got 100 percent of what they wanted. But the goal was to make sure our nation was protected."

The Collins group had favored extending appropriations through March, but the leadership agreement puts the date at Jan. 15. The moderates also had proposed suspending the 2.3 percent tax on medical device sales that helps fund the health care law. The final deal does not.

"I wish these deadlines were further out, but you can only get what you can get at that time," Donnelly said. "Other people did not want to push them further out and wanted them in fact shorter. This is what was negotiated on."

He is among three first-year senators in the Collins group, which also included Republican Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire and Democrats Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota. Donnelly praised their behind-the-scenes efforts.

"The easiest thing in the world is to be the loudest person in the Senate, the loudest in the House, the person getting the most attention," Donnelly said in an apparent reference to conservative Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas. "But that doesn't get anything done. What gets things done is the relationships you have to work together to make our nation stronger. And you had 14 people in a room who trusted one another, who knew that they could trust each other's word and who knew that their only goals were to try to make the nation stronger."

Donnelly was asked whether the partisan deadlock that closed parts of the government might be repeated this winter as the new fiscal deadlines approach, again risking a government default on its debt.

"I sure hope not," he said. "From everyone I talk to, there is no appetite for a repeat of this in the Senate, ... and I am hopeful that the House will feel the same way."

bfrancisco@jg.net

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