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As Democrats scramble, Armstrong, Fischbach and other Republicans from region reject budget plan

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., voted against the package, as did Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., and Reps. Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber, both of whom are Minnesota Republicans.

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Community officials from Grand Forks are headed this week to Washington, D.C., where they will visit with the state's congressional delegation and national military leaders.
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GRAND FORKS — The U.S. House voted 220-212 on Tuesday, Aug. 24, to back a $3.5 trillion budget resolution — a package that could significantly expand the federal government, boosting Medicare, climate change mitigation, child and elder care and family leave.

The vote is the second significant spending bill to come before Congress in as many months. But unlike the roughly trillion-dollar infrastructure package that won bipartisan support, the Democrats are going alone on this one.

Rep. Kelly Armstrong, R-N.D., voted against the package, as did Rep. Dusty Johnson, R-S.D., and Reps. Michelle Fischbach and Pete Stauber, both of whom are Minnesota Republicans.

“Americans cannot afford the Democrats’ spending spree,” Armstrong said in a prepared statement, worrying that the bill would bring federal spending to record levels and drive up taxes and inflation. “North Dakotans and Americans expect real, bipartisan solutions, not more unchecked, massive, partisan spending from Washington.”

Ditto for Fischbach, who points out high consumer prices and worries about ongoing spending.

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“President Biden has already spent $1.9 trillion and is now looking to spend an additional $3.5 trillion,” Fischbach said on the House floor , “all while his administration pays Americans not to work and stifles our robust economy.”

That echoes North Dakota’s Republican senators, who despite their support for the infrastructure bill, have denounced the Democrats’ spending plan. Sen. John Hoeven earlier this month called it a "tax-and-spend” bill; Sen. Kevin Cramer said it reflected “the extreme views of (Democrats’) liberal, socialist base.”

RELATED: Sens. John Hoeven, Kevin Cramer vote to advance $1.2 trillion infrastructure package out of Senate

Without Republican support on the budget, Democrats will be left to navigate passing a top priority with exceedingly slim majorities. And with midterms looming next year, they have a potentially dwindling amount of time to wield their power — leaving a looming sense of a hard deadline on their goals.

That’s complicated by an internal fight within the caucus, between moderates and progressives, over the timing and the order of passing those priorities. But the party, so far, is walking a thin line toward passing both the infrastructure and budget plans.

Besides approving the Democrats’ budget, the House vote on Tuesday also opened consideration on the infrastructure deal in the House, with a vote expected on or before Sept. 27.

“Today is a great day of pride for our country and for Democrats,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the vote. “Not only are we building the physical infrastructure of America, we are building the human infrastructure of America to enable many more people to participate in the success of our economy and the growth of our society.”

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