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Editorial: Budget stand may hurt GOP, point was a good one

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opinion Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

Congress reached a temporary solution earlier this week when a Kentucky Republican senator withdrew his hold on stopgap budget legislation.

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The Democrats succeeded in reaping some political hay due to Sen. Jim Bunning's cantankerous challenge, which held up popular tax breaks, extension of jobless benefits and highway funding.

While Bunning's stand made an important fiscal point -- how was Congress going to pay for this -- his blockade had poor political timing. Having Republicans blamed for holding up tax breaks and jobless benefits in an election year did not sit well with citizens.

This stopgap bill only solves the problem for a month, as Congress must still find agreement on how to cover the cost of the full-year program.

The complete program includes $66 billion for unemployment benefits, $29 billion for Medicaid help, $26 billion for expiring tax credits and closing $29 billion in tax loopholes.

All told, this program would add $107 billion more to the budget deficit over the next decade.

That remains a big chunk of change.

This complete bill will not be an easy measure to get through the Senate without addressing the deficit concerns. While Bunning's blockade raised a political tempest, he had a good fiscal point -- how do we pay for it?

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