Politics Magazine

Government Will Re-Open As GOP Blinks

Posted on the 17 October 2013 by Jobsanger
Government Will Re-Open As GOP Blinks It was only a matter of time, and on Wednesday night it happened -- the congressional Republicans blinked. They had painted themselves into a corner by shutting down the government (and threatening to cause the government to default by refusing to raise the debt ceiling), and they found themselves with almost no support from the American people. In fact, about 74% of the people in one of the latest polls said they did not approve of what the GOP did.
The agreement was worked out in the Senate by a bipartisan group. It re-opens the government and raises the debt ceiling, and mandates a Senate-House conference to work out the differences on the budget between the House and Senate. A small bone was thrown to the Republicans in the agreement by requiring those who receive a subsidy to buy insurance under the Affordable Care Act to be means-tested (to make sure they qualify). I say it's a small bone, because I doubt the subsidies would have been distributed anyway without making sure those who receive them do qualify.
The agreement to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling easily passed the Senate on a 81 to 18 vote. All Democrats, both Independents, and a majority of Republicans voted for the agreement. Only the most hardcore teabagger Republicans in the Senate voted against the agreement -- Cornyn (Texas), Cruz (Texas), Lee (Utah), Coburn (Oklahoma), Scott (South Carolina), Vitter (Louisiana), Toomey (Pennsylvania), Johnson (Wisconsin), Carpo (Idaho), Rubio (Florida), Risch (Idaho), Shelby (Alabama), Grassley (Iowa), Sessions (Alabama), Paul (Kentucky), Heller (Nevada), Enzi (Wyoming), and Roberts (Kansas).
The agreement also passed fairly easily in the House of Representatives on a vote of 285 to 144. Those voting for the agreement included 198 Democrats and 87 Republicans. But the Republicans didn't do themselves any favors, with 144 of them voting to keep the government shut down and have the government default on its loans (by not raising the debt ceiling). That's 57 more Republicans voting for the shutdown than voting to re-open the government.
But while it's a good thing that the government is back in operation, it's no reason to celebrate. The agreement only funds the government until January 15th, and raises the debt ceiling until February 7th. That means that unless the conference committee actually irons out the massive differences between the House and Senate budgets (not very likely), they could be playing the same silly shutdown and default game three months from now -- and I wouldn't bet against that happening.

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