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BREAKING NEWS

Will federal spending leave ND voters behind?

North Dakota voters typically are uncomfortable with extravagant government spending and taking on a great deal of debt. It is one of the fundamental principles underlying the state’s general fiscal conservatism.

Furthermore, North Dakota still remains Trump country, with above average approval ratings here, and some of the highest ratings in some recent polls.

So when the president strikes a deal to keep the government from shutting down that includes padding the national debt and conceivably bringing the annual addition to the debt to $1 trillion, one can’t help but wonder if similar bipartisan issues might leave North Dakota looking around for a standard bearer with less tendency to spend.

It’s easy to understand the president favoring the deal worked out. It enabled him to increase military spending – a promise – and avert another shutdown, which might this time have been fully blamed on he and the GOP. Democrats like the non-military defense spending increase as well as dodging a shutdown. Groups from each party held out for their own reasons: some conservatives who objected to spending increase and some liberals who were looking for an amnesty deal in the mix.

No one, though, is denying the fiscal impact of the short-term deal with the long-range ramifications. Which leaves one to wonder how true fiscal conservatives can and will make sense of the deal. Wasn’t cutting government waste from the budget also part of what the president promised when he came into office? Wasn’t he going to take the wiser, more businesslike approach? Did this agreement reach that threshold?

Only as longer term negotiations are underway in the weeks ahead will we know – is there a fiscal conservative in the room?

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