July 30, 2014

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Government reopens after Congress ends 16-day shutdown

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with reporters after voting on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday as Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., listen.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with reporters after voting on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday as Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., listen. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The government reopened its doors Thursday after a battle-weary Congress approved a bipartisan measure to end a 16-day partial shutdown and avert the possibility of an economy-jarring default on U.S. obligations.

Early Thursday, President Barack Obama signed the measure, which the House and Senate passed late Wednesday, ending a brawl with Republicans who tried to use the must-pass legislation to mount a last-ditch effort to derail the president’s landmark health care law and demand concessions on the budget.

The White House directed all agencies to reopen promptly and in an orderly fashion. Furloughed federal employees across the country are expected to return to work Thursday.

The impasse had shuttered national parks and monuments, and mostly closed down NASA, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Interior Department. Critical functions of government went on as usual and most federal employees won’t see their paychecks delayed, but the closure and potential default weighed on the economy and spooked the financial markets.

There were signs early Thursday that the federal government was slowly coming back to life. “We’re back from the #shutdown!” the Smithsonian Institution crowed on Twitter, announcing that museums would reopen Thursday and the National Zoo in Washington on Friday.

Standard & Poor’s estimated the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy, and the Fitch credit rating agency warned Tuesday that it was reviewing its AAA rating on U.S. government debt for a possible downgrade.

Obama and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill were the decisive winners in the fight, which was sparked by tea party Republicans like Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who prevailed upon skeptical GOP leaders to use a normally routine short-term funding bill to “defund” the 2010 health care law known as Obamacare.

“We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, conceded in a radio interview. He was given positive reviews from Republicans for his handling of the crisis, though it again exposed the tenuous grasp he holds over the fractious House GOP conference.

The agreement was brokered by the Senate’s top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and its Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. They stepped in after the House was unable to coalesce around a Republican-only approach Tuesday.

McConnell is up for re-election next year, and his tea party primary opponent issued a statement blasting his role.

“When the stakes are highest, Mitch McConnell can always be counted on to sell out conservatives,” Matt Bevin said. In the House, conservatives praised Boehner for tenacity.

The Senate approved the legislation by an 81-18 vote; the House followed suit by a tally of 285-144, with 87 Republicans in favor and 144 against, breaking an informal rule in which a majority of the majority party is supposed to carry legislation. Democrats unanimously supported the bill, even though it locks in funding at levels required by across-the-board spending cuts known as sequestration.

The legislation would fund the government through Jan. 15 and permit it to borrow normally through Feb. 7, though Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew retains the capacity to employ accounting maneuvers to create wiggle room on the debt limit into mid-March or so.

The shutdown sent GOP approval ratings numbers reeling in public opinion polls and exasperated veteran lawmakers who saw it and the possibility of default as folly.

“After two long weeks, it is time to end this government shutdown. It’s time to take the threat of default off the table,” House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said before the vote. “It’s time to restore some sanity to this place.”

Most House Republicans opposed the compromise bill for failing to do anything about deficits and debt.

“All this does is delay this fight four months,” Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., said. “We need to get to the underlying cause of the problem, which is our out-of-control spending and deficits, and fix it before it’s too late and we go down the toilet to bankruptcy because that’s where America is headed.”

The bill’s passage was only a temporary truce that sets up another collision between Obama and Republicans over spending and borrowing early next year. It’s the second time this year that Congress has passed legislation to increase the government’s borrowing cap with few if any conditions on the president, reversing a 2011 precedent in which the threat of default was used to extract $2.1 trillion in spending cuts from a politically wounded Obama.

“With the shutdown behind us,” Obama said after the Senate vote, “we now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair and that helps hardworking people all across this country.”

At the same time, House-Senate talks will begin on a broader budget pact in hopes of curbing deficits and easing across-the-board budget cuts that have slammed the Pentagon and domestic agencies alike. Such agreements have proven elusive in the current era of divided government.

“No one thinks this will be easy” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Patty Murray, D-Wash., said of budget negotiations. Murray and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., along with their ranking minority members, immediately scheduled a breakfast meeting for Thursday to break the ice.

  • bpbatista

    The government was closed? When did that happen? I didn’t notice.

  • CharlesMartel732

    The republicans folded like a cheap tent.

  • LookBackTwo

    Most importantly, it leaves the health care exceptions in place for obama, brown, reid, pelosi, kaptur, and sutton in place. Only we actual tax paying citizens will suffer under obamacare!

    • LOLOL

      How so? Please enlighten us with your brilliance!

      • Conservator440

        The Congress, and other FOB’s (Friends of Barack) are exempted from having to participate in the very law that they worked so deviously to pass.

        • LOLOL

          Deviously passed? You mean by going through several election cycles being upheld by the supreme court?

          You lost fair and square and you still lose, Reagan tried to push for UH. Guess its different when its a Democrat getting things done?

          Laughing at you

          • Conservator440

            Bill originates in the Senate, violation of Constitution, Article 1, Section 3.

            Passed in the middle of the night on a strict party line vote.

            No GOP amendments permitted

            Pushed into law using a budget reconciliation tactic that is not meant for legislation other than passing a budget.

            Supreme Court: where is it written that they are infallible. Are you familiar with Plessy v. Ferguson. John Roberts went political, and I pray that he regrets what he did.

            This battle may have been lost–but the war is far from over, much as you think it already is.

            He who laughs last, laughs best.

    • TheOriginalFactChecker

      Nonsense. Nobody that already had insurance is required to buy from the exchanges. And, there is no such thing as a health care exception.

      • Conservator440

        I believe that he means the carve-outs, of which there are many. The problem, OFC, is that businesses are dropping their health coverage in a whole lot of cases, thus forcing them into the exchanges. Certainly one as wise as you would have known this.

  • Conservator440

    The BS has flown, the bully has spoken, and nothing changes. Will we need to see the storm troopers marching down Broad Street before people realize what they have elected? If you want to know how things will be in the future, look to what happened during the “shutdown.” That is the looking glass to the future.

    • TheOriginalFactChecker

      There would have been no shutdown if the Republicans loved their Country.

      • Conservator440

        And I am sure that you felt the same way when the party in charge was reversed. Or did you take Senator Obama’s view that adding to the debt ceiling was unpatriotic? If that is the case, this is practically treasonous.

        • LOLOL

          ahh yes the old alternative reality with different circumstances to justify this reality!

          oh yeah well if Christmas was in July THEN you would know it to be so.

          Is it any wonder why you guys got beat so bad? wait till 2014 for the rest of your consequences.

          • Conservator440

            As a committed liberal, I can understand why you insist on confusing the issue as much as you can. The fact is that the president, as senator, said that raising the debt limit is unpatriotic and made it a campaign issue. Now, as president, it is just fine. It is called HYPOCRISY. Something that liberals excel at.

            And if my aunt had testicles, she’d be my uncle. Pfffffffffffffffff

          • LOLOL

            Yeah, Because the tea party has been oh so helpful right?

            Clearly you dont know the difference between Debt and deficit, You would have learned that in a basic Econ class

            Say when is the last time a Republican President left office with a balanced budget and surplus?

            Stay in school kid you got a lot to learn!

          • Conservator440

            What difference does it make, Mrs Clinton? The fact is that we just tipped 17 Trillion in US Debt, and we spend far more than we take in. If YOU knew anything about economics, you would know that it does not work. You can’t change the laws of economics. Let’s not even talk about the unfunded mandates and liabilities. Those are multiples of the debt figure. If business did their accounting like government gets away with, we would be in jail.

            Clinton only had that because he had a Republican Congress to move him along. Nice try on the smokescreen. There would have been no balanced budget or surplus. Or welfare reform, or anything else that he and dems take credit for that they were forced into.

            Don’t count out the Tea Party buster, the war isn’t over yet. I suggest that you go back to school, and not to the one espousing leftist policy.

          • LOLOL

            still dont have an answer? what difference does it make?

            Cant answer it huh?

            Who needs history and facts when Conservator440 cant answer the question because she does not know.

            Fact is its been SO LONG you dont know if a Republican President EVER balanced a budget, but yeah the liberals are bad.

            Keep in Mind it was Liberals that ended slavery, allowed women to vote and allowed you to enjoy this Beautiful saturday that you have off.

            still waiting for an answer kiddo

          • LOLOL

            What difference does it make? Well the difference is that I can prove the last time a democratic President balanced the budget and left a surplus and you cant for the life of you find when a Republicant President did the same.

            Too much reality too early for you?

          • Conservator440

            Which would have NEVER happened had a GOP Congress not made it so.

          • Pablo Jones

            Gov 101, the President doesn’t create the budget, that falls on the congress. The deficit was decreasing for 3 years until the democrats took control of congress and in their first budget tripled the deficit. The last balanced budget was passed by a Republican congress.

          • LOLOL

            Anytime you can answer the Republican surplus question would be great, We will be right here waiting for your answer.

          • Pablo Jones

            When was the last Republican President that had an annual Trillion dollar deficit? None. The only one to ever do that was President Obama and he did it 4 times.

            You are funny praising Democrat presidents for their financial prowess for saving about $50 billion 1 year and ignore the fact that they have been blowing $1000 billion for several years.

            Next you will be telling us the virtues of a prostitute because she has never had an STD.

      • John Boy

        The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can’t pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. … Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that “the buck stops here.” Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.

        Senator Barack Obama March 20 2006.

        • TheOriginalFactChecker

          From Forbes Magazine 5/24/2012 : Marketwatch is reporting that our president has actually been tighter with a buck than any United States president since Dwight D. Eisenhower.

          • Conservator440

            Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics
            -Will Rogers

          • John Boy

            Debt Clock

            Today’s Federal Debt is about $16,738,158,460,000.

            The amount is the gross federal debt issued by the United States Department of the Treasury since 1790. It doesn’t include state and local debt, and it doesn’t include the so-called unfunded liabilities of entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

            Federal Debt per person is about $51,297.

            Government debt in the United States has steadily increased from $2 trillion in the mid 1980s to over $17 trillion today. But as a percent of GDP it has grown from 55 percent to over 100 percent of GDP today.

            IMHO, that doesn’t sound like someone who is tight with a buck. Maybe you should check your facts.

          • Conservator440

            The national debt is back
            on course to hit $17 trillion any day now, with no deal in sight to ever
            reverse the climb. SincePresident Obama took
            office, the total national debt has risen by nearly 60 percent. It was $10.6
            trillion on the day he took office. It was $16.7 trillion when the nation
            technically hit the debt ceiling.

            Your theory again implodes with facts.

          • LOLOL

            well lets start by collecting the 24 billion Ted Cruz costs us!

            oh forgot about that fact didnt you

            LOLOLOL

          • Conservator440

            Cruz should be applauded. As soon as the government went back into business, it cost us an additional 328 billion the first day. 304 billion savings, I say that is an accomplishment.

            Will you ever remove the rose colored lenses?

          • LOLOL

            Ted Cruz should be applauded?

            Welp that’s all I needed to hear.

          • LOLOL

            too much time on drudge report their buddy, you admit that you dont know the difference between debt and deficit.

            quick better ask Matt Drudge for an answer since you cant think for yourself, oh oh I bet Breitbart can answer that right?

          • Conservator440

            Sorry, bucko, but I don’t consult Drudge. I am well aware of debt and deficit, and while a little debt is good, what we have is insane. You can’t continue to borrow billions daily and think that a deficit will resolve. Here’s some elementary math for you. If you have one hundred dollars and you spend two billion, you are screwed.

          • Conservator440

            Share511 Tweet27 1 Share1 Share559

            Yale Study Finds Tea Partiers Know More About Science Than Liberals

            Posted on October 18, 2013

            This shouldn’t be a surprise. Conservatives use logic, liberals use feelings.
            Check it out:

            A finding in a study on the relationship between science literacy and political ideology surprised the Yale professor behind it: Tea party members know more science than non-tea partiers.Yale law professor Dan Kahan posted on his blog this week that he analyzed the responses of a set of more than 2,000 American adults recruited for another study and found that, on average, people who leaned liberal were more science literate than those who leaned conservative.

          • LOLOL

            ahh ha you so funny!

            Still cant answer the question and change the subject. So when was the last time A Republican President left office with a balanced budget and a surplus?

            This is a tough question for you, isnt it

          • LOLOL

            Still cant answer the question and change the subject. So when was the last time A Republican President left office with a balanced budget and a surplus?

            This is a tough question for you, isnt it

          • Conservator440

            For the umpteenth time, there has never been a budget surplus under a republican president. Clinton had one but only because of the republican congress.

            Now have a nice orgasm over it.

          • LOLOL

            Budget deficit refers to the government’s spending in a given year. When an annual budget spends more than the government earns in revenue, there is a deficit. When it spends less than revenues, there is a budget surplus.

            Debt is the net result of all the deficits/surpluses.

            If you’re a math guy/girl, think of it in terms of f and f prime. f is the debt, f prime (deficit) is (sort of) the rate of change.

            So the phrase “the deficit decreased” is good in that THIS year’s deficit is less than LAST year’s deficit, but it’s still bad for 2 reasons — 1) it’s still means we spent more than we earned and 2) it still means we added to the debt. we just didn’t add to the debt as much as last year

            Im willing to bet by 2016 we will have finally fixed the last Presidents boofumba, Oh wait he wasnt responsible for anything right?

            LOLOL

          • Conservator440

            What you say is foolish, and to be expected.

            So more debt is good? Are you able to deficit spend in your private economy? All the Chinese need do is increase the interest rate, and we are toast. No wonder Keynes is on the ash heap of economic policies. It has never worked, yet you liberals continue to do it over and over again. What is that the definition of anyway???

            I am willing to wager that in 2016 you will be wearing a very long sleeved jacket

          • LOLOL

            Still waiting, When is the last time a Republican President left office with a balanced budget and a surplus?

            Got an answer or you just gonna change the subject again?

            Facts win and you lose

          • LOLOL

            Got an answer? simple question. You should be able to answer this real easy if the Republicans were SO responsible.

          • Conservator440

            There have not been one. However, the Congresses, who actually appropriate the funds, had all been Democrat until Clinton and 1994. You seem to discount the role that Congress has in these fights. Harry Reid held the cards and what he wanted won.

            I did not change the subject. Because liberals think that whatever they think is the truth, it is difficult to cut through the mearde.

          • LOLOL

            Ahh so congress is responsible yet the house republicans are incapable of doing their job of bringing a budget to the floor.

            thanks for the clarification

          • Conservator440

            Let me refresh your memory. The government has run by Continuing Resolution for the past five years. It is the Democrats who refused to produce a budget until this year and chose to run by CR because they had the control to make it work. Again, you negate the politics of the opposition party.

            And should the GOP take over both Houses, I am certain that Nancy Pelosi will again cry “Minority rights, Minority rights.” Which were extended to the dems and when the House flipped again, the GOP was flipped off.

          • Pablo Jones

            The house has passed several budgets. The Democrat senate has never voted on them to send to the president.

            Here is a question for you. When was the last budget passed? When was the last time President Obama signed a budget?

          • LOLOL

            haha you are confused by these basic concepts aren’t you?

            LCCC has basic ECON classes for cheap, Maybe you should take a look at them?

          • Conservator440

            Been there, done that, got the hat, t-shirt and the program. Another Alinsky tactic, attempting to belittle your opponent. Please justify why the almighty government should be in charge of everything we do?

          • LOLOL

            well? still waiting? got an answer? Its tough because every time you google Balanced budget is says democrat, pretty confusing isnt it? :-)

          • Conservator440

            No, it’s pretty simple. Democrat appropriators, you get the deficits. Republican Congress is seated, Clinton’s feet held to the fire, and within his two terms, there is a mild surplus. That would have not have happened with a democrat Congress.

          • LOLOL

            Still cant give an answer ehh? I mean you would think there has been at least ONE TIME a Republican President left office with a balanced budget right?

            No feet were held to the fire, the fact remains and you cant answer the question

          • Pablo Jones

            Let’s see the house creates spending bills. Before President Clinton the house was controlled by Democrats for over 40 years. It seems like Democrats were never able to pass a balanced budget? Once again the President has nothing to do with it.

            When was the last time a Democrat control House passed a balanced budget?

          • LOLOL

            Ahh the President has nothing to do with it so that means this house of Republicans are the only ones responsible for this current mess.

            Thanks for clearing that up Pablo!

            LOL

          • Pablo Jones

            To the extent that they allow continuing resolutions instead of pushing for a budget. They have passed budgets but the Democrat Senate never votes on them. So they go along with the CRs instead of letting the government shut down. Congress needs to do their constitutional job and pass a budget.

          • LOLOL

            Still cant answer the question and change the subject. So when was the last time A Republican President left office with a balanced budget and a surplus?

            This is a tough question for you, isnt it

          • bpbatista

            Under Obama, the federal government has spent more money and incurred more debt than under any other President in history. And as a result, there are more people in poverty, more people on food stamps and more people on federal disability than at any other time in our history.

        • LOLOL

          The fact that the right would rather default than accept defeat is the root.

          • Conservator440

            Now you truly show your ignorance.

            There was never any chance of default. By definition, a default is the failure to pay the bond liabilities. That currently amounts to 24 billion per month, when the government takes in roughly 250 billion. Unless Jack Lew had a death wish, a default would never happen. And the Constitution, a document which you wish weren’t around, mandates that payment on the treasury bonds is the FIRST expense. This is a scare tactic that democrats foist on people who are ignorant of the facts.

          • John Boy

            Arguing with a liberal is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how well you play chess, the pigeon just knocks over all the pieces, craps on the board, spews some unintelligible profanities, and struts around like he won

          • Conservator440

            Or trying to carry around a three gallon bag of soft jello, or even herding cats.

          • LOLOL

            Didnt take long to resort to personal insults,

            So when was the last republican President who left office with a balanced budget and surplus???

            Johnny boy you can chime in anytime also

            Still waiting!

          • Conservator440

            Disdain from a member of a party that has perfected the process.

            Your question was answered within the thread.

            For those who have such problems scrolling

            There have not been one. However, the Congresses, who actually appropriate the funds, had all been Democrat until Clinton and 1994. You seem to discount the role that Congress has in these fights. Harry Reid held the cards and what he wanted won. Clinton would have never had the surplus had there been a Democrat controlled Congress.

          • LOLOL

            So when was the last time A Republican President left office with a balanced budget and a surplus?

            This is a tough question for you, isnt it

          • Conservator440

            It is an easy question to answer.

            Never. Couldn’t have happened as the democrats had control over Congress for over half a century.

            Now, how was your orgasm over that???

          • John Boy

            President Obama said today that he hasn’t looked at the House Republican plan to make raising the debt ceiling contingent on passing a balanced budget amendment, but he said he’s unlikely to support it.

            President Barack Obama declared in a press conference today that he is against the Cut, Cap, and Balance Act and a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution (BBA). Obama said that a BBA is not needed for Congress and the President to balance the budget

            These quotes are from 2011, which budget proposal did President Obama send to Congress that would balance the budget or leave a surplus?

          • LOLOL

            So none of you can answer the question?

            Typical

          • LOLOL

            So when was the last time A Republican President left office with a balanced budget and a surplus?

          • LOLOL

            LOL yeah that it haha

            Still cant answer the question

            I accept your defeat

          • Conservator440

            Defeat? You truly do live in your own alternative universe.
            Defeat isn’t accepted, only surrender. And neither applies here. Nice try slick.

          • John Boy

            It’s kind of funny to see a liberal ask a question and have it answered multiple times, but still say no one has answered their question. I love the typical liberal tactic of deflecting.
            Please Mr Democrat spinmiester explain to me if the democratic party is so stuck on a balanced budget, why didn’t the President support the Balanced Budget Act? This would have forced every President to present a balanced budget.

          • LOLOL

            so you still cant answer the question…

            you change the subject you trash talk but in the end you cant answer the question

            You lose, Maybe next time

          • John Boy

            You did exactly what I said you would do, you are so predictable. You go ahead and knock over the chess pieces, spew some unintelligible questions that have no meaning and tell everyone how you won. You are so funny.

      • bpbatista

        Obama hates the United States. That’s why he promised to “fundamentally transform” it.