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
    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

    In Britain, The Sun Still Doesn’t Shine

    Invoking Spitfires and Merlin, Leave voters insist country can be great again, following surprising 'Brexit' vote last week

    Double Wave of Suicide Bombings Puts Lebanon, Refugees on Edge

    Following suicide bombings in Christian town of Al-Qaa, on Lebanon's northeast border with Syria, fears of further bombings have risen

    US Senators Warned on Zika After Failing to Pass Funding

    Zika threats and challenges, as well as issues of contraception and vaccines, spelled out as lawmakers point fingers

    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.
    Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeasti
    X
    June 29, 2016 6:15 PM
    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Slow Rebuilding Amid Boko Haram Destruction in Nigeria’s Northeast

    Military operations have chased Boko Haram out of towns and cities in Nigeria’s northeast since early last year. But it is only recently that people have begun returning to their homes in Adamawa state, near the border with Cameroon, to try to rebuild their lives. For VOA, Chris Stein traveled to the area and has this report.
    Video

    Video Clinton Leads Trump, But Many Voters Don't Like Either

    In the U.S. presidential race, most recent polls show Democrat Hillary Clinton with a steady lead over Republican Donald Trump as both presumptive party nominees prepare for their party conventions next month. Trump’s disapproval ratings have risen in some recent surveys, but Clinton also suffers from high negative ratings, suggesting both candidates have a lot of work to do to improve their images before the November election. VOA National correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video New US Ambassador to Somalia Faces Heavy Challenges

    The new U.S. envoy to Somalia, who was sworn into office Monday, will be the first American ambassador to that nation in 25 years. He will take up his post as Somalia faces a number of crucial issues, including insecurity, an upcoming election, and the potential closure of the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. VOA’s Jill Craig asked Somalis living in Kenya’s capital city Nairobi how they feel about the U.S. finally installing a new ambassador.
    Video

    Video At National Zoo, Captivating Animal Sculptures Illustrate Tragedy of Ocean Pollution

    The National Zoo in Washington, D.C., is home to about 1,800 animals, representing 300 species. But throughout the summer, visitors can also see other kinds of creatures there. They are larger-than-life animal sculptures that speak volumes about a global issue — the massive plastic pollution in our oceans. VOA's June Soh takes us to the zoo's special exhibit, called Washed Ashore: Art to Save the Sea.
    Video

    Video Baghdad Bikers Defy War with a Roar

    Baghdad is a city of contradictions. War is a constant. Explosions and kidnappings are part of daily life. But the Iraqi capital remains a thriving city, even if a little beat up. VOA's Sharon Behn reports on how some in Baghdad are defying the stereotype of a nation at war by pursuing a lifestyle known for its iconic symbols of rebellion: motorbikes, leather jackets and roaring engines.
    Video

    Video Melting Pot of Immigrants Working to Restore US Capitol Dome

    The American Iron Works company is one of the firms working to renovate the iconic U.S. Capitol Dome. The company employs immigrants of many different cultural and national backgrounds. VOA’s Arman Tarjimanyan has more.
    Video

    Video Testing Bamboo as Building Material

    For thousands of years various species of bamboo - one of the world's most versatile plants - have been used for diverse purposes ranging from food and medicine to textiles and construction. But its use on a large scale is hampered because it's not manufactured to specific standards but grown in the ground. A University of Pittsburgh professor is on track to changing that. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Orphanage in Iraqi City Houses Kids Who Lost their Parents to Attacks by IS

    An orphanage in Iraqi Kurdistan has become home to scores of Yazidi children who lost their parents after Islamic State militants took over Sinjar in Iraq’s Nineveh Province in 2014. Iraqi Kurdish forces backed by the U.S. airstrikes have since recaptured Sinjar but the need for the care provided by the orphanage continues. VOA’s Kawa Omar filed this report narrated by Rob Raffaele.
    Video

    Video Re-Opening Old Wounds in a Bullet-Riddled Cultural Landmark

    A cultural landmark before Lebanon’s civil war transformed it into a nest of snipers, Beirut’s ‘Yellow House’ is once again set to play a crucial role in the city.  Built in a neo-Ottoman style in the 1920s, in September it is set to be re-opened as a ‘memory museum’ - its bullet-riddled walls and bunkered positions overlooking the city’s notorious ‘Green Line’ maintained for posterity. John Owens reports from Beirut.
    Video

    Video Brexit Resounds in US Presidential Contest

    Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is resounding in America’s presidential race. As VOA’s Michael Bowman reports, Republican presumptive nominee Donald Trump sees Britain’s move as an affirmation of his campaign’s core messages, while Democrat Hillary Clinton sees the episode as further evidence that Trump is unfit to be president.
    Video

    Video NASA Juno Spacecraft, Nearing Jupiter, to Shed Light on Gas Giant

    After a five-year journey, the spacecraft Juno is nearing its destination, the giant planet Jupiter, where it will enter orbit and start sending data back July 4th. As Mike O'Sullivan reports from Pasadena, California, the craft will pierce the veil of Jupiter's dense cloud cover to reveal its mysteries.
    Video

    Video Orlando Shooting Changes Debate on Gun Control

    It’s been nearly two weeks since the largest mass shooting ever in the United States. Despite public calls for tighter gun control laws, Congress is at an impasse. Democratic lawmakers resorted to a 1960s civil rights tactic to portray their frustration. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains how the Orlando, Florida shooting is changing the debate.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora