Deal reached, government shutdown slated to end with evening vote

UPDATE, 6:13 p.m.: The Senate has passed legislation to end the shutdown and fund the government through Jan. 15, 2014, in an 81-18 vote.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Senate announced Wednesday morning that a bipartisan deal has been reached to end the 16-day-long partial government shutdown – at least for now. The deal is a short-term plan that funds the government through Jan. 15, and raises the debt ceiling through Feb. 7 in order to keep the government from defaulting on debt obligations. The temporary measure does not defund the Affordable Care Act, though it does now require income verification for those seeking health care coverage under the new law. 

This bill isn’t perfect, but it is a path forward to reopen the government and prevent an economy-shaking default,” Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch said in a statement issued today. “When Republicans control only one-half of one-third of the federal government, we have to understand what is achievable and what is not.”

The Republican-led House and Democrat-led Senate came to an impasse Sept. 30 and failed to pass a continual resolution to fund the government in lieu of having an actual budget. Led by Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz, of Texas, the Republicans in the Senate and the House drew a line in the sand over the matter, as did the Democrats. The House wanted a resolution that included the defunding, and possible delay of, the Affordable Care Act’s so-called individual mandate; while the Senate and president refused to let such legislation pass.

With both sides stuck in a sparring contest, Oct. 1 saw the furlough of 800,000 federal workers, the closure of national parks and monuments across the nation and the suspension of a host of other services deemed “unessential” during the partial government shutdown.

We fought a good fight and just didn’t win,” House Speaker John Boehner said, according to CNN. However, the Speaker stated that the battle over the ACA would continue nonetheless.

Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president’s health care law will continue,” Boehner said. “But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us. “

“It’s never easy for two sides at odds to reach consensus,” Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., said. “After weeks spent facing off across a partisan divide that often seemed too wide to cross, our country came to the brink of a disaster.  But in the end, political adversaries set aside their differences and disagreements to prevent that disaster.”

Cruz has said that his focus will also remain on fighting the ACA, yet he will not attempt to block the passage of the pending temporary funding measure when it comes up for a vote in the Senate. “This deal kicks the can down the road,” Cruz said while on the Senate floor and he encouraged other senators not to vote for it. However, Cruz added he had no illusion that the bill would be defeated.  

Hatch added that, while the legislation was not ideal, some good was coming out of it. 

This legislation locks in significant spending reductions against bitter opposition from the other side of the aisle who want to raise the American people’s taxes to spend more money we simply don’t have,” Hatch said “That is an achievement that cannot be overstated.”

And perhaps most importantly,” Reid said, “this legislation ends a standoff that ground the work of Washington to a halt this fall.”

As of 5:30 p.m., Utah time, the Senate has yet to vote on the legislation. The House is expected to vote following the Senate. 

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Email: mkessler@stgnews.com

Twitter: @MoriKessler

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

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3 Comments

  • My Evil Twin October 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Well, I’m sure all these political hacks will now be thinking of themselves as “Heros,” rather than thinking of themselves as the slime balls they are. Maybe some recalls would be in order.

  • Real Life October 16, 2013 at 9:16 pm

    Alright fellas, time to get back to screwin’ over the working man. Let’s go!

    • Jeckyll October 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm

      Wait… you mean to say they weren’t doing that the entire time?

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