WASHINGTON – Minnesota’s congressional delegation split early Friday on the massive two-year spending bill that funds the federal government.
But the splits were not along party lines. The measure is expected to increase the national debt, which already totals some $20 trillion, leading to objections from some Republicans. And the bill does not include protections for immigrants who were brought illegally to the United States as children, the group commonly referred to as”dreamers,” which Democrats had sought.
Minnesota Republican Reps. Tom Emmer and Jason Lewis joined Democratic Reps. Tim Walz, Keith Ellison and Collin Peterson in voting against the measure. In a statement, Lewis criticized the bill for its price tag.
“As I’ve said so many times, the way to get our fiscal house in order is real ‘shared sacrifice,’ where everyone has skin in the game when it comes to budget restraint,” said Lewis. “Instead, we get more of the same D.C. spending profligacy — ‘I’ll increase your budget if you increase mine.’ ”
Democratic Reps. Betty McCollum and Rick Nolan voted yes, along with Republican Rep. Erik Paulsen.
Ellison, meanwhile, said in a statement that the time had come to put into law protections for immigrants — set to run out in March — under the Deferred Action Childhood Arrival program (DACA). House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi tried to galvanize others in the party to oppose the measure over its lack of addressing DACA.
“Consider me a ‘no’ on all future funding votes until that happens,” said Ellison.
Walz, a DFL candidate for governor, cited concerns for immigrants as well as about deficit spending.
“I cannot vote for a deal that leaves too many Americans behind and spends billions of additional dollars unpaid for with little debate,” Walz said in a statement.
Paulsen, however, praised the deal for funding the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and community health centers and repealing a cap on Medicare outpatient physical therapy services.
“ ‘Compromise’ is not a dirty word and we should realize what can be achieved by finding areas of common ground,” he said in a statement.
In the Senate, Democrats Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith voted for the bill.
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