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Michigan's congressional delegation divided on government shutdown/debt ceiling vote

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Last night’s vote to end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling divided Michigan’s Republican congress.

The legislation reopens the government through Jan. 15th and permits the U.S. Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7th or perhaps a month longer.

Congress faced a midnight deadline Thursday. That's when U.S. Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.

GOP Congressmen Dan Benishek, Dave Camp, Mike Rogers and Fred Upton joined all of Michigan’s Democratic members of Congress in voting to pass the bill on a 285 to 144 vote. 

Congressmen Justin Amash, Kerry Bentivolio, Bill Huizenga, Candice Miller and Tim Walberg joined more than a hundred other GOP congressmen in opposing the bill. 

Earlier in the evening, Michigan Senators Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin voted for the bill.

Democratic Congressman Gary Peters issued a statement saying “This shutdown was irresponsible and unnecessary. It threatened our economy, hurt Michigan businesses, and placed yet another undue burden on all of our families.”  

Republican Congresswoman Candice Miller issued a statement saying she’s glad the federal government will be reopening, but she could not support a solution that didn’t deal with the nation’s debt and deficit or address unfairness in Obamacare.

Some members of Congress from Michigan said they are now looking forward.

Congressman Tim Walberg issued a statement saying “Washington now needs to move past this gridlock and instead focus on policies that will create jobs and a healthy economy.”

And Congressman Dan Kildee struck a similar note. “It’s time we return to dealing with the critical issues facing our country. Congress and our country, cannot afford to continue lurching from crisis to crisis, where ultimately, and unfortunately, my constituents and the American people lose,” Kildee said in a statement. 

But not everyone appears ready to put the issue behind them so easily.

After the vote, Rep. Justin Amash tweeted “Need real compromise to *cut* debt, not increase it by hundreds of billions.”

And Democrat Sander Levin says “The lesson that must be learned from the last two weeks is that taking the nation and its economy hostage to pursue a reckless ideological agenda is irresponsible and ultimately an ill-fated legislative strategy.”

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.
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