Default Averted! Senate Leaders Say They’ve Reached An Agreement To Reopen The Government

October 16, 2013  |  

Waiting until the very last possible minute, Senate leaders on both sides of the aisle say they’ve reached an agreement that would end the government shutdown and avoid a debt default that threatened the US credit rating and the world economy. Under the deal, the government will be funded through January 15 and the debt ceiling will be raised through February 7. There’s also a deadline set for mid-December in which the House and Senate should look at something more long term so perhaps we don’t have to go through this madness all… over… again every few months.

Sens. Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) made the announcement this afternoon and Senate Republicans who had initiated the crisis with their attempts to defund Obamacare now say they won’t block the vote. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), who staged a fake filibuster for 21-plus hours last month, says he won’t vote for it, though he won’t keep it from getting through. A vote is expected this afternoon.

In the end, the Republicans got next to nothing for all the chaos they caused. The only concession made was the continuance of the budget cuts of 2011, which even Sen. McConnell said “is far less than many of us hoped for, quite frankly, but far better than what some had fought.”

The chaos in the House continued straight through yesterday afternoon, with House Speaker John Boehner making suggestions that were tossed out, and resolution seeming just as much out of reach as before.

While that was going on Fitch, the credit rating agency, put the US on notice that our credit rating was in jeopardy because of the default threat and the Treasury Department said that it only had $35 billion to pay for the government’s debts. Not a lot when you think of all the government has to pay for. That was expected to only last another few days. Investors and Wall Street leaders also admonished the government for taking the country and the global economy to the brink of disaster. The government has been partially shut down for 16 days.

“The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs,” said Sen. Harry Reid today as the deal was announced.

While Congress was battling it out, Republicans were taking a good deal of the blame for the crisis in the eyes of the American people. And rightfully so. Poll after poll over the past week has shown disapproval of Congress as a whole, but many people place responsibility for this crisis at the feet of Republicans, who then tried to blame President Obama for holding fast and not giving them everything they wanted. Criticism even came from moderate Republicans who recognized that holding the country hostage while they sought to get “something out of this” although they didn’t “even know what that even is” was a mistake.

“Let’s just say sometimes learning what can’t be accomplished is an important long term thing, and hopefully for some of the members they’ve learned it’s impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government,” North Carolina’s Republican Senator Richard Burr said.

We’re technically still waiting for Congress to take those final votes, but the picture is more reassuring today than it was this morning.

“Nobody who is sent here to Washington by the American people can call themselves a winner if the American people have paid a price for what’s happened,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in today’s briefing.

[via The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal]

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