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Federal Government Shutdown Ends, 4 La. Reps Vote Against Deal

From Michoud to Jean Lafitte, New Orleans-area offices and lands run by the federal government are back in business on Thursday. The U.S. House and Senate reached a deal to reopen the federal government through January, 15, 2014, and raise the debt ceiling through February 7. President Barack Obama made it official with his signature just after midnight. Click through to see how Louisiana reps voted.


"Good morning, everyone---we're back and we've missed you!" officials with New Orleans' Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve, which has been closed for more than two weeks because of the partial government shutdown, said via Facebook.


While New Orleanians have missed them, too, the vote to send employees of the Park and the many other federal workers in New Orleans back to work was not unanimous among the Bayou State's Washington delegation.


In the Senate, Louisiana's delegation was split on the deal. As she indicated she would do on Monday, U.S. Senator Mary Landrieu voted in favor of a deal that ended the first federal government shutdown in 17 years. Landrieu, a Democrat, was one of 81 senators to vote in favor of the deal.


Many Republicans broke ranks to vote for the deal, but Senator David Vitter was not one of them. Louisiana's junior senator was one of 18 to vote no. Vitter was one of a group of conservative senators who stood in opposition to funding the government as long as it provided money for Obamacare.


Throughout the shutdown-debt ceiling drama, Vitter pushed an amendment to end an exemption in the health care law that would keep current health care benefits for the President, vice president, members of Congress and their staffs.


In the House, the vote came down mostly along party lines. Rep. Cedric Richmond, of New Orleans, joined all House Democrats in voting for the bill.


"As we breathe a temporary sigh of relief after 16 days of a government shutdown, Congress needs to take heed because America has made it crystal clear that they will not tolerate this dysfunctional governing approach," Richmond said in a statement. "We have a responsibility to our constituents and the American people to represent them with fairness and integrity and above all else, to do our jobs and actually govern."


Joining Richmond among "ayes" was Rep. Charles Boustany. The Lafayette-based Republican, who is usually considered a moderate Republican, called on the two parties to come together.


"Americans have had enough of the short-term political squabbling coming out of Washington," he said in a statement. "I refuse to jeopardize the nation’s economy over political disagreements on Capitol Hill. Some in Washington deny their responsibility to govern."


Meanwhile, Republican Congressmen Bill Cassidy, Steve Scalise and John Fleming voted no.


"This deal does not end special Obamacare breaks for Senators or Members of Congress nor does it address the long-term threats to our debt and deficit," Cassidy, who is challenging Mary Landrieu in the 2014 Senate election, said in a statement issued before his vote was cast.


The final vote in the House was 285-144.

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