Thursday, October 17, 2013


Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
        The nation and the world breathed a huge sigh of relief as the Senate and the House took last minute action last night to end the government shut down and to permit the raising of the debt ceiling at least temporarily, by kicking the can down the road.
        The Senate voted 81-18 to end the shut-down by funding the government through January 15, 2014. The bi-partisan bill also allowed the debt ceiling to be raised through February 7, 2014, while leaving the Affordable Health Care Act virtually untouched. The one minor exception was the inclusion of a "no subsidies without verification" provision.
        Republican Senator Ted Cruz and his Tea Party allies were terribly unhappy with the bill and they vowed the fight isn't over.
        The bill was then sent over to the House, which voted 285 to 144 to accept the Senate's compromise. 87 House Republicans sided with 198 House Democrats in favor of the bill, while no Democrats voted against it.
        To their credit Democrats and the President are not gloating over what has to be seen as a major victory for them and for the nation. They are viewing it as a bipartisan effort. At the same time, they are not hesitant to lay the blame for the whole fiasco at the doorstep of the Tea Party, and their supporters.
        The shut down has already cost the country 24 billion dollars, and the nation's credit rating is in jeopardy. Some big questions remain: will the Republicans ever again force a government shutdown in order to attain their legislative agenda, in this case repealing Obamacare, or have they learned their lesson? Their approval rating has never been lower!
        Will moderate Republicans cease to be intimidated by the radical right wing of the Party, or will they move ahead with their own agenda? Will they work with Democrats and the President to correct the flaws in the Affordable Health Care Act, or will they continue to insist that the law must be completely abolished?
        Will the House finally turn their attention to all the other important legislative matters that have been on hold for so long, such as immigration reform, the infrastructure, jobs, gun regulation, and many other important issues. Will John Boehner continue to be the Speaker of the House?
        We'll soon know the answer to these questions.

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