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Young: Lawmakers must avoid damaging cycle of brinksmanship

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The U.S. representative whose district includes Johnson County said Congress faces another immediate budget challenge that it must tackle without the looming threat of another shutdown.

U.S. Rep. Todd Young, a second-term Republican from Bloomington who represents Indiana’s 9th Congressional District, voted for the debt-ceiling increase this week and called for an end to political “brinksmanship.”

“I voted for a plan to avoid default on our national debt, to end the partial shutdown of the federal government, to create a framework for immediately dealing with our budget challenges, and to tighten anti-fraud measures for Obamacare’s tax subsidies. But this is only the beginning,” Young said in a statement.

“Under this plan, government funding will again run out in just three months, and we’ll be up against our borrowing limit in a mere four months. We must commit ourselves to avoiding the constant cycle of brinksmanship by working across party lines to address issues like job creation, stagnant personal incomes, our unsustainable national debt, and rising health care costs,” Young said. “And we must do that as soon as the current stalemate is resolved, not when we are facing the next deadline.”

Indiana’s 9th District includes all of Johnson County.

The two Indiana senators, Democrat Joe Donnelly and Republican Dan Coats, also voted in favor of raising the debt ceiling.

The key votes — 81-18 in the Senate and 285-144 in the House — left sour tastes in the mouths of many tea party conservatives who got little or no concessions from Democrats during the 16-day shutdown of most federal government services.

More moderate Republicans, including Sen. Lindsey Graham,

R-S.C., said tactics used by members of his party over the past few weeks could lead to a “marginalized (Republican) party in the eyes of the American people.”

Wednesday’s votes mean the U.S. will continue paying its bills while allowing the U.S. government to avoid a historic default on the national debt. Now, the debt limit has been lifted until a new deadline of Feb. 7, and government operations are funded through Jan. 15.

The next step requires Democrats and Republicans to begin intense budget negotiations with a goal of concluding them by Dec. 13.

Of the nine U.S. representatives from

Indiana, five voted against raising the debt ceiling. Among them was Luke Messer, a Republican from Shelbyville.

The average citizen likely sees the vote to raise the U.S. debt ceiling and reopen government as a victory for President Barack Obama, Messer said Thursday. The congressman insisted the time to get serious about reducing spending is now.

“We have a lot of work to do as a country. The president said if the government reopened, he’d negotiate and start working on efforts to cut spending, improve our budget and improve Obamacare. I hope he keeps that promise.”

“The American people are on our side on that issue. Virtually every poll shows people believe we are spending too much,” the congressman said. “Now is not the time for finger pointing.”

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