Sen. Donnelly, Rep. Young get credit for shutdown ending agreement (update)

October 17th, 2013 at 4:34 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

The government is open, Obamacare is intact, and the debt ceiling has been raised.  And two Indiana lawmakers are among those who are getting credit for breaking the stalemate.

Republican Congressman Todd Young joined a bi-partisan group that met several times a week during the shutdown to encourage a solution.    Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly was part of another bi-partisan group that helped draft the final agreement.

Donnelly is one of 14 Senators, 7 Republicans, 6 Democrats and an independent, who sought to end the stalemate.  When 81 Senators voted to reopen the government their efforts were rewarded.

“We had a plan that was ready to go and to make sure our government didn’t shut down,” said Donnelly, “and at the end of the day, the leaders of the Senate turned and said, look, this is going to be 95% of what we’re gonna use to get through this.”

Just two Indiana Republicans voted to approve the plan when the House acted.  Todd Young was joined by Susan Brooks.  While her vote was unexpected, Young had been working with the bi-partisan group No Labels to encourage dialogue among the leaders.  He says the shutdown was a mistake.

“It was a strategy that led us ultimately to a sub-optimal piece of legislation, one that I would have preferred not have hit the floor in the first place,” he said, “but many of us said it was a flawed strategy from the beginning.’

It was a strategy driven by the Tea Party and Republicans worried about primary challenges by Tea Party members.  Young is unconcerned.  “I’m not too concerned about the politics of this,” said the 9th District Congressman. “I said from the beginning I want to be a leader not a follower.”

Donnelly says Tea Party influence on the wane.  “The Tea Party really damaged our nation with their conduct on this,” he said, “and I think they probably damaged their own brand as well.”

Senator Donnelly says he’s already heard from a number of Senators who now want to join his bi-partisan group.

Nevertheless, Representative Young says that it will still be difficult to avoid gridlock when the next budget deadline arrives in January.

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