U.S. government shutdown over

Congress votes to end shutdown, avoid U.S. default.
Associated Press
Oct 17, 2013

Up against a deadline, Congress passed and sent a waiting President Barack Obama legislation late Wednesday night to avoid a threatened national default and end the 16-day partial government shutdown, the culmination of an epic political drama that placed the U.S. economy at risk.

The Senate voted first, a bipartisan 81-18 at midevening. That cleared the way for a final 285-144 vote in the Republican-controlled House about two hours later on the legislation, which hewed strictly to the terms Obama laid down when the twin crises erupted more than three weeks ago.

The legislation would permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer, and fund the government through Jan. 15. More than 2 million federal workers would be paid — those who had remained on the job and those who had been furloughed.

After the Senate approved the measure, Obama hailed the vote and said he would sign it immediately after it reached his desk. "We'll begin reopening our government immediately and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty from our businesses and the American people."

Later, in the House, Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said, "After two long weeks, it is time to end this government shutdown. It's time to take the threat of default off the table. It's time to restore some sanity to this place."

The stock market surged higher at the prospect of an end to the crisis that also had threatened to shake confidence in the U.S. economy overseas.

Republicans conceded defeat after a long struggle. "We fought the good fight. We just didn't win," conceded House Speaker John Boehner as lawmakers lined up to vote on a bill that includes nothing for GOP lawmakers who had demand to eradicate or scale back Obama's signature health care overhaul.

"The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, declaring that the nation "came to the brink of disaster" before sealing an agreement.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who negotiated the deal with Reid, emphasized that it preserved a round of spending cuts negotiated two years ago with Obama and Democrats. As a result, he said, "government spending has declined for two years in a row" for the first time since the Korean War. "And we're not going back on this agreement," he added.

Only a temporary truce, the measure set a time frame of early this winter for the next likely clash between Obama and the Republicans over spending and borrowing.

But for now, government was lurching back to life. Within moments of the House's vote, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, issued a statement saying "employees should expect to return to work in the morning."

After weeks of gridlock, the measure had support from the White House, most if not all Democrats in Congress and many Republicans fearful of the economic impact of a default.

Boehner and the rest of the top GOP leadership told their rank and file in advance they would vote for the measure. In the end, Republicans split 144 against and 87 in favor. All 198 voting Democrats were supporters.

Final passage came in plenty of time to assure Obama's signature before the administration's 11:59 p.m. Thursday deadline.

That was when Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.

Tea party-aligned lawmakers who triggered the shutdown that began on Oct. 1 said they would vote against the legislation. Significantly, though, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others agreed not to use the Senate's cumbersome 18th-century rules to slow the bill's progress.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Cruz said the measure was "a terrible deal" and criticized fellow Republicans for lining up behind it.

McConnell made no mention of the polls showing that the shutdown and flirtation with default have sent Republicans' public approval plummeting and have left the party badly split nationally as well as in his home state of Kentucky. He received a prompt reminder, though.

"When the stakes are highest Mitch McConnell can always be counted on to sell out conservatives," said Matt Bevin, who is challenging the party leader from the right in a 2014 election primary.

More broadly, national tea party groups and their allies underscored the internal divide. The Club for Growth urged lawmakers to vote against the congressional measure, and said it would factor in the organization's decision when it decides which candidates to support in midterm elections next year.

"There are no significant changes to Obamacare, nothing on the other major entitlements that are racked with trillions in unfunded liabilities, and no meaningful spending cuts either. If this bill passes, Congress will kick the can down the road, yet again," the group said.

Even so, support for Boehner appeared solid inside his fractious rank and file. "There are no plots, plans or rumblings that I know of. And I was part of one in January, so I'd probably be on the whip list for that," said Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out in favor of the bill.

Simplicity at the end, there was next to nothing in the agreement beyond authorization for the Treasury to resume borrowing and funding for the government to reopen.

House and Senate negotiators are to meet this fall to see if progress is possible on a broad deficit-reduction compromise of the type that has proved elusive in the current era of divided government.

Additionally, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is to be required to produce a report stating that her agency is capable of verifying the incomes of individuals who apply for federal subsidies under the health care law known as Obamacare.

Obama had insisted repeatedly he would not pay "ransom" by yielding to Republican demands for significant changes to the health care overhaul in exchange for funding the government and permitting Treasury the borrowing latitude to pay the nation's bills.

Other issues fell by the wayside in a final deal, including a Republican proposal for the suspension of a medical device tax in Obamacare and a Democratic call to delay a fee on companies for everyone who receives health coverage under an employer-sponsored plan.

The gradual withering of Republicans' Obamacare-related demands defined the arc of the struggle that has occupied virtually all of Congress' time for the past three weeks.

The shutdown began on Oct. 1 after Cruz and his tea party allies in the House demanded the defunding of the health care law as a trade for providing essential government funding.

Obama and Reid refused, then refused again and again as Boehner gradually scaled back Republican demands.

The shutdown initially idled about 800,000 workers, but that soon fell to about 350,000 after Congress agreed to let furloughed Pentagon employees return to work. While there was widespread inconvenience, the mail was delivered, Medicare continued to pay doctors who treated seniors and there was no interruption in Social Security benefits.

Still, national parks were closed to the detriment of tourists and local businesses, government research scientists were sent home and Food and Drug Administration inspectors worked only sporadically.

 

Comments

2cents

It is getting close, this country looks like "toast" to the rest of the world laughing at the US.

shucks

...thanks to the Republicans.

OMG.LOL.WT_

How about Casablanca for the illegals?

AJ Oliver

How about you righties go down to the Senior Center and volunteer for Meals on Wheels? The sequester level funding enshrined in the government re-opening locked in big cuts.
The prospect of hungry seniors makes you happy, doesn't it? Come on, admit it !!
Alexandria, VA, June 4, 2013 - New information detailing the devastating impact of the federally mandated budget cuts known as sequester was released today by the Meals On Wheels Association of America.
Programs have been forced to cut, on average, 364 meals per week;
Over 70% are establishing or adding to existing waiting lists;
Programs have increased their waiting lists on average by 58 seniors;
40% of programs responding have eliminated staff positions; and
One in six are closing congregate meals sites or home-delivered meal programs

sugar

No one in this county is going without a meal, but I'll bet there are many receiving the meal that should not be, Fraud.

AJ Oliver

Before you ask, yes, I have volunteered for MOW. How about you?

Darwin's choice

I have to ask....exactly who decided what/which "sections" of the government would be shutdown? Surely someone had to make the decisions...

I would say Obama....!

Contango

Re: "I have volunteered for MOW."

Good for you.

I have other institutions and individuals I provide for, but don't feel the selfish, self-serving egotistical need to crow about it.

meowmix

Yes, Contango, you volunteer to bring a side dish to all of the Republican Women's potlucks. I heard you also put time in with a Mobile Dentist as a gopher when they're out and about fixing all the teabaggers toofers (or in most cases, toof.)

Contango

Re: "you volunteer"

Nothing but feline turds.

So to whom do you donate and/or volunteer?

Still NOT a Repub - Independent.

meowmix

Anyone who classifies their self as an Independent is someone who is too embarrassed to identify their self as a republican/teatard. I'm not a volunteer for anything right now, see, I'm busy working a full time job and I also have a husband. You know how demanding you fella's can be with your women folk right??

Contango

Re: "republican/teatard."

Nope – Independent (fiscal conservative/social liberal).

Only the small-minded see the "real" political world in monochrome.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

Wow you just can't win can you Contango? Even though you aren't a Republican you simply HAVE to be for the sole reason you aren't a card-carrying Democrat. It seems to be the only logical choice, how could you NOT be the only choice in all of political Creation? Sheesh...

Meowmix, you certainly seem to have a very strong attachment to the Democratic Party. That's fine. People carry memberships to all kinds of organizations. But when you represent yours in the way that you do, you actually make it unappealing to those who aren't affiliated with that club to join because we have those kinds of comments to look forward to or we ask ourselves "if people like that are so prominent, why do I want to be there?"

There are many bars or other establishments in the area that have reputations for being one thing or another, I know I'm not immune to it either. The Westboro Baptist Church sure doesn't convince too many atheists/agnostics/other to sign up for their brand of salvation. In fact I would wager a great many Christians are embarrassed to have such a group claim affiliation with their sect. Get what I'm saying?

So, please, do your party a favor and stop being so incendiary. You will do more good explaining your own thoughts (or being able to understand and explain what a party tells you its position is) than calling names and making silly conclusions. Appeal to intelligence and reason, appeal to humanity's intrinsic desire to learn and be better.

If you seek a balance in my feedback thinking I am picking on you or Democrats, meowmix, there are many times I wish Contango didn't call names and poke back at Dog and others. It doesn't excuse it, but I credit him with the fact he backs up what he says most of the time despite it. When other conservative commenters start talking about welfare parasites being the norm and other such things my eyes roll back and I froth at the mouth from my brain shutting down at the broad-brush accusations made there, too.

You would be amazed at how many people you could get to join you in voting (D) or supporting their policies if you and others would just stop berating people who ask questions and put measured thought into things. Even if it is because we are uncertain or less educated than you, then please EXPLAIN it to us. Take the role of teacher, of mentor, and guide us through analysis and thought experiments. Provide sources. Something other than this numbing, immature superiority complex that is besmirching a once grand political party.

I and others here and abroad are actually capable of a great deal of respect for others even if we disagree with them for the sole purpose they come across as civil and knowledgeable. In fact, it then creates a fun challenge to try and outsmart the paragon so to speak. A friendly rivalry.

So I won't tell you how to talk meowmix (or Contango since you were brought up here too), but if you want some friendly advice offered non-sarcastically nor provocatively then there it is. The same I offered to Gardenman and just as well when I replied to your question of "what can we do" in the other thread. On that note, did you have any questions? Can I offer more support on how we can break dependency on the establishment of two parties?

Stop It

+1. A voice of sanity that actually takes time to think. Too many times I look around for good debate and usually find ad hominems instead.

I personally don't see much difference in either party. Yes, we really only have two because they tend to have influence to push out any and all newcomers. It also seems that they only care about themselves.

I don't like the Tea Party, but I like what they did. They stirred up the crap in the pee pot and made the others play "the game". They just should have done it longer. It didn't hurt enough to make the two party system quit "the game" and do what it is we voted them to do. That would entail actual work and participation in making this nation what it was intended to be.

Contango

Re: "how we can break dependency on the establishment of two parties?"

Next-to-impossible. They've pulled up the gangplank and pulled away from the dock.

Look for example at federal matching campaign funds - the Dems and the Repubs get the lion's share.

Other parties have to pull about 5% of the vote in the previous election in order to qualify for funds.

They've stacked the deck.

(Mixed metaphors are the best.)

Historically in the U.S., minor parties or movements of any popularity have tended to be swallowed up by the majors.

IMO, the socialists have essentially taken over the Dems.

Look at the 1932 Socialist Party Platform and compare it to their political philosophy today.

http://www.marxists.org/history/...

Or, FDR's "Second Bill of Rights."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sec...

So, essentially the only "salvation" for the TEA Party, the libertarians and other fiscal conservatives in our current political campaign structure is to gain control of the Republican Party.

meowmix

Hero-- I appreciate your constructive criticism of my opinions and how I express them on this forum. But I must ask, why do you feel it necessary to essentially berate me for comments that I type, whether they be serious or in jest? Quite frankly, I find your sanctimonious orations boring most of the time. You were correct, I have a VERY strong attachment to the Democratic party. I support it's agenda because I agree with it. I don't blindly follow. So, when time after time when my cohorts and I are abased by the name calling or the insinuation that we are somehow public assistance recipients, I shoot back. So, if in the future, you feel the need to once again offer me your advice, take this bit first from me. Save it.

Contango

Re: "I have a VERY strong attachment to the Democratic party."

Frankly, I don't mind the socialists.

I just wish that they'd loot their own cache of believers and quit stealing money from those of us who don't support their wrong headed centralized planning Ponzi schemes.

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I look forward to more posts like you in this format. This is the kind of discussion/discourse that is preferred. I don't like it when Democrats are called freeloaders any more than when I see conservatives called "teatards". Especially when there is no context given in a single post or over the multiple ones you have made that distinguish jest from seriousness. On that point and many more you'll find we are aligned.

In my defense, my constructive criticism was offered UNsanctimoniously as I do not claim to be superior or "more correct" morally than you. Rather, I was hoping that by bringing this up calling people names while vigorously claiming allegiance to a party does little to actually support the organization to which you belong.

If you could be one of the few on here to articulate liberal and/or Democratic points I would, for one, be sincerely appreciative as there currently is a rather wide open slot for someone to step up and do that here. I'm not talking about bumper stickers or parroting politicians, I mean honest philosophical and economic discussion.

To turn your question for me back on you, what is your solution to fix our woes such as Congressional deadlock or our $17 trillion operating debt? I'm not setting you up for a "gotcha", I am just honestly curious.

Contango

Re: "your solution to fix our woes such as Congressional deadlock or our $17 trillion operating debt?"

Ain't one.

According to CBO estimates and others, unless, entitlement spending is addressed, as the baby boomers age it will exponentially expand and eventually engulf our entire fed budget.

Our "best hope" IMO is fiscal & financial collapse followed by austerity and economic common sense.

BTW: Spam filters are blocking me from providing a link. Do a Google search on: "Currency Controls At Chase" (Armstrong economics)

Maybe the beginning of limiting ATM withdrawals? Sumpthin's up with the banks.

meowmix

To be perfectly honest with you Hero, I find myself more attracted to the social issues that plague this nation more so than the economical ones. On the economical side, I know that higher taxes are essential to lowering our deficit, however, I also know that in order to do this, jobs must be had with wages that a person can live with. Bit by bit, companies are paying lower wages knowing full well that people are expendable due to the vast number that really need jobs. Therefore, treat them unfairly, demand outrageous performance from them, yet pay them nothing for the job they do. I'm not in agreement that a McDonald's worker should earn $15.00 per hour, no more than a line worker for any factory, union or no, should earn $30.00 to put part A into part B. Cut defense spending, increase spending in developing our infrastructure. Make college affordable to all--In fact, give the first two years away free. Socialist? I suppose to a certain extent I am.

Contango

Re: "the social issues that plague this nation more so than the economical ones"

Ultimately one-in-the-same.

Socialism eventually succumbs to market forces ‘regardless’ of the best intentions.

Economics is about the allocation of limited resources.

Socialists erroneously appear to believe that there is an endless supply of resources - there ain't.

The question becomes: How best to allocate those resources in the most efficient manner?

IMO, millions of individuals making free market decisions regarding their wants, dreams and desires is better able to handle the allocation of those limited resources than is bureaucratic centralized planning.

BTW: One of my favorite clear writing economists is Thomas Sowell.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tho...

meowmix

By social issues Contango I was referring to the right a woman should have in regards to reproduction, the right of a gay/lesbians to have the same rights as a married couples. I am one of those American's who doesn't feel it necessary to judge, pry nor dictate what goes on in others lives. It's all about the basic credo of this nation...freedom. Without all the religious nuts out there telling folks how to live.

Contango

Re: "Without all the religious nuts out there telling folks how to live."

And as a social liberal, I believe that the socialists should likewise not tell "folks how to live" or how to spend their own money.

As is said: Your rights end at the tip of my nose.

Govt. should keep the h*ll out of social issues.

On the other hand, at what age do the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness begin?

Many of those "religious nuts" believe that they begin at conception.

And if you want the federal govt. to pay for abortions on demand - NOW we're also into economic issues.

It ain't so clean and cut is it?

Contango

Re: "higher taxes are essential to lowering our deficit,"

Higher taxes on whom?

It would be taking more money out of the private sector and transferring it to the inefficient public sector.

Go ahead, tax the "wealthy."

Consumer spending makes up about 70% of GDP in this country.

The wealthy make up about 30% of that.

If you tax the wealthy, GDP will decline, thereby hurting the economy.

My favorite example is the Democrats' "luxury tax" on expensive boats, cars and jewelry.

Who buys luxury boats, cars and jewelry? The rich right?

The unintended consequence of this wrongheaded legislation was that hundreds of businesses closed and thousands of workers lost their jobs.

"The Lesson of Economic Damage From "Taxing the Rich" With the Punitive Luxury Tax in the 1990s"

http://mjperry.blogspot.com/2011...

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

I appreciate your opinion, thank you meowmix. We probably synch up on most things social so really any difference we share would be on an economic front. So, learning what is most important to you economically helps build a bridge (speaking of infrastructure) to better having constructive conversations. Yeah, pardon the puns.

Contango

Re: "economic front"

Interesting to note that when deciding the recent gay marriage issue that the Supremes used an estate tax case.

http://taxfoundation.org/blog/su...

If we got rid of the 16th Amend. and all the BS that goes with it, marriage (gay or straight) could perhaps largely return to the religious sphere.

Unfortunately, the State is not likely to relinquish it's taxing power.

Damn those unintended consequences!

The Big Dog's back

Sanctimonious. Exactly the word I was looking for describing h z's posts.

Truth or Dare

Such beautiful political choreography we've been witnessing and just as expected, brought down to the final moments. Left wondering who$e benefitting from such production$.

Stop It

+1

The Hero Zone's picture
The Hero Zone

So they ARE running it like a business! If they can have "just in time inventory" (http://smallbusiness.chron.com/p...) then we can have "just in time government". BRILLIANT! Just like you said it takes precise calculations for that style to work and...oh. Oh my. I see...

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