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Local politics


After earlier OK, Stutzman opposes bill for spending

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, was the only member of the Hoosier congressional delegation to vote Thursday against a bill to fund the government through Sept. 30.

Stutzman was among 27 Republicans to oppose the spending plan, which passed 318-109. His office did not say why he voted against the bill, but he apparently disliked changes the Senate made this week to the original House version, which he voted for March 6. Stutzman did join the Republican majority in a 221-207 vote to pass a fiscal 2014 budget that drew criticism from majority Democrats in the Senate.

Meanwhile, Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., either filed or co-sponsored six amendments to the Senate’s own 2014 budget proposal, including two that would repeal taxes that help fund the federal health care law.

Coats wants Congress to abandon the 2.3 percent tax on the sale of medical devices and the 3.8 percent tax on investment income. Both taxes took effect in January.

An amendment filed by Sens. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., and Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to repeal the medical device tax passed 79-20 Thursday night.

Coats filed amendments to the budget bill that would force Congress to consider revenue-neutral changes to the income tax code and establish a Senate procedure to appeal increases in mandatory spending if the federal debt exceeds the nation’s gross domestic product.

Coats complained in a floor speech broadcast by C-SPAN that the Senate budget proposal “grows government by increasing spending, and it grows government by a massive increase in taxes.”