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Utah congressmen support bipartisan budget

Published: Thursday, Dec. 12 2013 6:04 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's four congressmen voted in support of a bipartisan budget that passed the U.S. House on Thursday.

The two-year budget deal passed 332-94, staving off concern of another government shutdown next year.

Utah Republican Reps. Rob Bishop, Jason Chaffetz and Chris Stewart said the bill isn't perfect, but they supported it as a way to prevent funding cuts to national defense and to reduce the country's deficit over several years.

"In this instance, I would have liked to have seen deeper spending cuts. However, the House, Senate and White House don't share the same outlook on fiscal conservatism," Bishop said. "The key point, though, is that for the next couple of years, this bill relieves the burden of sequester on our nation's military while still reducing the deficit over the long-term."

Chaffetz backed his vote, saying the "benefits of the bill outweigh the costs" and citing the need to avoid a shutdown, reduce the deficit and avoid oversized defense cuts.

"This budget resolution allows Congress to return to regular order by going through the appropriations process instead of relying on continuing resolutions," he said. "The regular appropriations process is a better way to make sure that spending is correctly prioritized and taxpayer dollars are spent most efficiently."

Stewart echoed the need to manage cuts to defense spending.

"The sequester was a blunt instrument that indiscriminately cut defense spending in an irresponsible manner," he said. "This deal reverses those cuts that were focused largely on our defense spending. While I acknowledge that we can and should address wasteful spending in our defense department, the sequester was a poor way to address the need for more responsible spending."

Jim Matheson, D-Utah, praised the bipartisan effort while saying the bill is "not perfect."

"It puts us on the path to avoiding another government shutdown and sets funding levels for the next two years," Matheson said. "I am especially pleased to see folks from both sides of the aisle coming together to create a bipartisan framework for further discussions."

Email: mromero@deseretnews.com, Twitter: McKenzieRomero

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