News / USA

US Shutdown Ends

Congress Approves Bill to Reopen Governmenti
X
October 17, 2013 12:58 PM
U.S. federal workers are to begin returning to work Thursday morning, after Congress approved a bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling. President Barack Obama has signed the measure into law, ending a political stalemate and avoiding a potential U.S. debt default. VOA's Richard Green has the details.

Congress Approves Bill to Reopen Government

TEXT SIZE - +
Cindy Saine
— Congress has put an end to three weeks of drama, deadlock and danger to the global economy as both the House and Senate passed a bill to re-open the federal government and extend the government's credit limit just hours ahead of a possible default. President Barack Obama signed the bill into law in the early hours of Thursday as yet another U.S. budget crisis was resolved on the brink of disaster.
 
Federal workers were advised to return to work Thursday morning. The Smithsonian Institution - which includes most of the famous museums that line the National Mall in Washington, D.C. - tweeted that its facilities will be open Thursday, with the National Zoo to reopen on Friday.

The House vote came late Wednesday night after a rollercoaster ride of twists and turns on Capitol Hill and less than two hours before the credit extension deadline. The bill will keep the government running until at least January 15 and raise the borrowing limit enough to put off the risk of default until at least February 7. In the meantime, lawmakers will negotiate on spending cuts.

Details of the Deal

  • Reopens and funds the government until January 15, 2014
  • Raises the debt limit until February 7, 2014
  • Requires the government confirm the eligibility of people receiving federal subsidies under the Affordable Care Act
  • Sets up negotiating committee  to develop long term budget plan
  • Provides back pay to furloughed federal workers
The bill passed with mostly Democratic votes. Fewer than 90 Republicans voted for it, and none of the Republican House leaders came to the floor to speak in the final debate.  The pressure had been on House Speaker John Boehner, who earlier in the day conceded that Republicans lost this round of a bitter standoff with Democratic President Obama and the Democratic-controlled Senate.  Boehner spoke to WLW Radio in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio.
 
 “We have been locked in a fight over here, trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare, we fought the good fight, we just did not win,” said Boehner.
 
House Democratic Minority leader Nancy Pelosi had been asking Boehner to bring a “clean” bill to the floor that would fund the government and extend the debt ceiling with no restrictions on either.  She said House Democrats would help him pass it and end the shutdown.  Pelosi had harsh words for Boehner and House Republicans for the damage caused to the U.S. economy and working Americans during the 16 days of a government shutdown.
 
“My colleagues, do you think that your recklessness was worth 24 billion dollars to our economy?” asked Pelosi, referencing an estimate by economists that the government shutdown has cost the U.S. economy an estimated 24 billion dollars. 
 
House Republicans triggered the shutdown on October 1 by linking passage of a government funding bill to a provision to derail President Obama’s health care law.  A core group of some 30-40 House Republicans, some closely aligned with the so-called Tea Party, strongly oppose the Affordable Care Act, along with a few Republican senators. 
 
The bill that ends the standoff extends U.S borrowing authority into February, avoiding the potentially devastating consequences to the global economy from a default on the U.S. debt.  The U.S. Treasury had said the credit limit needed to be raised by October 17 to guarantee that the United States can borrow enough money to pay its bills.
 
Earlier Wednesday evening, the Senate passed the same bill by a vote of 81 to 18, demonstrating strong bipartisan support to end the stalemate that had threatened to trigger a downgrade of the U.S. credit.  The two votes paved the way for large parts of the U.S. government to reopen as early as Thursday.
 
Democratic Congressman Eliot Engel told VOA he hopes the shutdown and debt limit standoff has not caused lasting damage to the United States' standing in the world.
 
“We walked right up to the precipice, we did not jump over.  I think if we had jumped over, God forbid, it would have had lasting damage.  So I think that this is repairable,” said Engel.
 
Speaking after the Senate vote but before the House vote, President Obama thanked congressional leaders for coming together to get a deal done, and called on everyone to put the last three weeks behind them and move forward.
 
“We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis,” said Obama.
 
President Obama said that after being consumed by the budget crises in recent weeks, the White House and Congress can now turn their attention to pressing issues such as passing immigration reform and a farm bill.  As part of the deal, House and Senate leaders also agreed to appoint members to a budget conference committee to tackle the divisive issues of spending priorities. That committee is set to start work Thursday.

You May Like

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Godwin from: Nigeria
October 17, 2013 9:21 AM
Congratulations USA, you’re out of the woods, out of the grips of a debts default, if only temporarily, though the picture becomes gloomier, more sinister, as the debts are not going down but up. But this shutdown provided a good insight into the country called USA which the world looks up to as the model of modern democracy. We look at the game plan of the Republicans and the Democrats. On these pages I have proffered a suggestion that normal human societies always do have their agreements and disagreements, which was what happened during the shutdown. And even within the same parties, such replay of yes and no proves that they are true human societies whereas its absence simply suggests something uncanny. It goes beyond the US economy, debt ceiling and budgeting in USA.

We saw how divided the Republicans were while it lasted, and how the Democrats were so locked up as if all of them were just one man. As a bandwagon effect, it provides an avenue of dependency and lack of individual freedoms to think and act independently. The very perfect lock up of the Democrats without a single divergent view makes it less than a human society, a dangerous precedence – though only seen in societies where people make a pretense of democracy while actually ruling by autocratic principles; where there is multiparty but only one winning the majority vote always, with multiparty system only used to deceive outsiders that there is multiparty democracy in place.

The fear is that with what we have seen of the Democrats during the shutdown, USA is just headed for a reversal of its own edifices and hallmark, the collapse of the multiparty democracy and a clamp on the general freedoms and a return to a socialist economic system. Obamacare has laid the foundation for it. With an overwhelming support the president and his party, and a serious draw down on Republican support – press reports available are anything to go by – the Americans appear gearing toward one party state, a sign that the Democrats may have won the 2016 elections with no vote yet cast. Only the Americans understand how it feels, but no one outside USA expected it the way it has gone. If it is this way in the USA, how will it replicate in other parts of the world, especially in the third world and budding democracies? However my kudos go to the Republicans for being truly democratic and patriotic, and for agreeing to vote in favor of restarting the American economy. The Democrats, by what we have seen them do here, would not have allowed it if they were in control.


by: Bearman from: U.S.A.
October 17, 2013 8:13 AM
Just another dog and pony show brought to one and all by the community organizer and chief, Barrack Obama. Whether democrat or republican, no one seems to grasp the idea of spending within one's means. They should be required to wear clown suits to their respective chambers. What a circus.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid