Congress votes to avoid U.S. default

(UPDATE: Wednesday 10:43 p.m.) Up against a deadline, Congress passed and sent a waiting President Barack Obama legislation late Wednesday night to avoid a threatened national default and end the 16-day partial government shutdown, the culmination of an epic political drama that placed the U.S. economy at risk.
AP Wire
Oct 16, 2013


The Senate voted first, a bipartisan 81-18 at midevening. That cleared the way for a final 285-144 vote in the Republican-controlled House about two hours later on the legislation, which hewed strictly to the terms Obama laid down when the twin crises erupted more than three weeks ago.

The legislation would permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer, and fund the government through Jan. 15. More than 2 million federal workers would be paid — those who had remained on the job and those who had been furloughed.

At the White House, Obama hailed the Senate's vote and encouraged the House to follow suit. Once the measure reaches his desk, he said, "I will sign it immediately. We'll begin reopening our government immediately and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty from our businesses and the American people."

Less than an hour later, as debate began in the House, Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said, "After two long weeks, it is time to end this government shutdown. It's time to take the threat of default off the table. It's time to restore some sanity to this place."

The stock market surged higher at the prospect of an end to the crisis that also had threatened to shake confidence in the U.S. economy overseas.

Republicans conceded defeat after a long struggle. "We fought the good fight. We just didn't win," conceded House Speaker John Boehner as lawmakers lined up to vote on a bill that includes nothing for GOP lawmakers who had demand to eradicate or scale back Obama's signature health care overhaul.

"The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, declaring that the nation "came to the brink of disaster" before sealing an agreement.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who negotiated the deal with Reid, emphasized that it preserved a round of spending cuts negotiated two years ago with Obama and Democrats. As a result, he said, "government spending has declined for two years in a row" for the first time since the Korean War. "And we're not going back on this agreement," he added.

Only a temporary truce, the measure set a time frame of early next winter for the next likely clash between Obama and the Republicans over spending and borrowing.

But for now, government was lurching back to life. In one example, officials met to discuss plans for gearing back up at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where 307 employees remained at work during the partial shutdown and more than 8,000 were furloughed.

After weeks of gridlock, the measure had support from the White House, most if not all Democrats in Congress and many Republicans fearful of the economic impact of a default.

Boehner and the rest of the top GOP leadership told their rank and file they would vote for the measure, and there was little or no doubt it would pass both houses and reach the White House in time for Obama's signature before the administration's 11:59 p.m. Oct. 17 deadline.

That was when Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.

Tea party-aligned lawmakers who triggered the shutdown that began on Oct. 1 said they would vote against the legislation. Significantly, though, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others agreed not to use the Senate's cumbersome 18th-century rules to slow the bill's progress.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Cruz said the measure was "a terrible deal" and criticized fellow Republicans for lining up behind it.

McConnell made no mention of the polls showing that the shutdown and flirtation with default have sent Republicans' public approval plummeting and have left the party badly split nationally as well as in his home state of Kentucky. He received a prompt reminder, though.

"When the stakes are highest Mitch McConnell can always be counted on to sell out conservatives," said Matt Bevin, who is challenging the party leader from the right in a 2014 election primary.

More broadly, national tea party groups and their allies underscored the internal divide. The Club for Growth urged lawmakers to vote against the congressional measure, and said it would factor in the organization's decision when it decides which candidates to support in midterm elections next year.

"There are no significant changes to Obamacare, nothing on the other major entitlements that are racked with trillions in unfunded liabilities, and no meaningful spending cuts either. If this bill passes, Congress will kick the can down the road, yet again," the group said.

Even so, support for Boehner appeared solid inside his fractious rank and file. "There are no plots, plans or rumblings that I know of. And I was part of one in January, so I'd probably be on the whip list for that," said Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out in favor of the bill.

Simplicity at the end, there was next to nothing in the agreement beyond authorization for the Treasury to resume borrowing and funding for the government to reopen.

House and Senate negotiators are to meet this fall to see if progress is possible on a broad deficit-reduction compromise of the type that has proved elusive in the current era of divided government.

Additionally, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is to be required to produce a report stating that her agency is capable of verifying the incomes of individuals who apply for federal subsidies under the health care law known as Obamacare.

Obama had insisted repeatedly he would not pay "ransom" by yielding to Republican demands for significant changes to the health care overhaul in exchange for funding the government and permitting Treasury the borrowing latitude to pay the nation's bills.

Other issues fell by the wayside in a final deal, including a Republican proposal for the suspension of a medical device tax in Obamacare and a Democratic call to delay a fee on companies for everyone who receives health coverage under an employer-sponsored plan.

The gradual withering of Republicans' Obamacare-related demands defined the arc of the struggle that has occupied virtually all of Congress' time for the past three weeks.

The shutdown began on Oct. 1 after Cruz and his tea party allies in the House demanded the defunding of the health care law as a trade for providing essential government funding.

Obama and Reid refused, then refused again and again as Boehner gradually scaled back Republican demands.

The shutdown initially idled about 800,000 workers, but that soon fell to about 350,000 after Congress agreed to let furloughed Pentagon employees return to work. While there was widespread inconvenience, the mail was delivered, Medicare continued to pay doctors who treated seniors and there was no interruption in Social Security benefits.

Still, national parks were closed to the detriment of tourists and local businesses, government research scientists were sent home and Food and Drug Administration inspectors worked only sporadically.

Obama and Boehner both came to the same conclusion — that they would allow the shutdown to persist for two weeks, until it became politically possible to reopen government and address the threat of default at the same time.

As Republican polls sank, Boehner refused to let the House vote on legislation to reopen the entire government, insisting on a piecemeal approach that the White House and Reid rejected as insufficient.

As the Oct. 17 debt-limit deadline approached, there were warnings from European officials as well as Cabinet members and bankers in this country that failure to raise the debt limit invited an economic disaster far worse than the near-meltdown of 2008.

On Tuesday, the Fitch credit rating agency said it was reviewing its AAA rating on U.S. government debt for possible downgrade.

By then, the endgame was underway.

Late last week, Obama met with Boehner and House Republicans at the White House. The session resulted in brief follow-up talks in which GOP aides suggested easing the across-the-board spending cuts in exchange for changes in benefit programs such as making Medicare more expensive for better-off beneficiaries.

After that faltered, Reid and McConnell announced over the weekend they were seeking a deal to solve the crises, and expressed hope they could quickly come to an agreement.

That effort was suspended on Tuesday, a day of suspense in which Boehner made one last stab at a conservatives' solution. When his rank and file refused to coalesce around any proposal, he gave up and


Mystic Michael

OK, so we managed to avoid complete & utter self-immolation - for now. We've just squandered a minimum of $25 billion in GDP. We've created widespread misery for the 800,000 federal employees who suddenly didn't have a paycheck - not to mention the ripple effect that has hurt millions more. And we've generated grave doubts about the full faith & credit of the United States, thereby further jeopardizing our credit rating, while inviting scorn & ridicule from millions of people in countries around the entire world.

And for what? To stroke Ted Cruz's ego (as if it needed any further stroking)? To placate a fringe group of simple-minded right-wing zealots?

What happens four months from now, when we bump up against the debt ceiling yet again? Or in three months, when another government shutdown could occur?

Are we as a nation going to allow "government by terrorism" to continue? It has to stop now. Right now. Never again can we allow a cabal of far Right anarchists to threaten our country. Enough is enough!



Now, how do we stop it? Assemble the miltia and march directly to D.C.? Will anything less than that work to stop the foolishness?

Let's start with answers to those questions and go from there.


Snug up those skinny jeans MM, you are witnessing the beginning of the change in this country. These "fringe group.... zealots" will continue to gain strength and you just witness it. That's why your flipping out. You know its powerful. When has a group of freshmen senators been able to direct a debate that many, many citizens are demanding and cheering for? This change is a long time coming for the Republicans. Resistance will surely split the party and from the ash will rise a party that most Americans want. It may not be the same name but Dem and Dem light that we have now is not clear choice or leadership for the country.

Your party owns all of this countries problems. You are getting your way, passing your agenda items. When they fail its yours. Run on that in 2016. Run on a stagnant economy, a failed healthcare system, a messed up job market, declining US influence around the world. Good luck Billary, your party just handed you the bag of burning poop.


only an imbecile would 'demand and cheer' for people who obviously hate America so much. This follows the Rights intentional dumbing down of America. "Your party owns all of this countries problems", it is if you are describing the obstructionist Rightwingers for any failures this country might have. Are you pounding on your desk as you type this tripe? A "failed healthcare system"? for who, those of us with pre-existing conditions? and at what, 16 days into sign-up it is a failure?? Your rantings are a joke and you should work for the Faux News you obviously keep your channel on.


You really don't have a freakin' clue do you Masterwing?

Tell me how exactly, in less than 10,000 ranting words, just how "your" party is any different, or even better yet, how are they going to fix all these problems you keep listing, assuming they get voted in to get a chance to "fix" all these problems?

Are you really so naive that you really think one group of politicians is any better, or different, or more honest, or anything else you can think of, than the other? They're all cut from the same cloth and all they really care about is their own fat as***. You seem to think there's going to be a winning team and you're going to be on it to enjoy in the spoils. That's not gonna happen bud. No matter what team you think you're on, you're still only good to them for your tax dollars and votes. Once they have that stuff you'll be in the same fenced-in enclosure, with all your bug-eyed Republican AND democratic neighbors, all being fed the same gruel from the same pail.

Either load up your gun, join the militia and march toward the scene of the crime or shut the h*** up. If I had an extra buck I'd buy a clue for you.......uuuuggggghhhhhh.

I'm starting to repeat myself so I'm shutting up now. enjoy your cattle pen.

Mystic Michael

Power + cruelty + stupidity is nothing to brag about...except for stupid people who love only cruelty and respect only power.


Congress just passed the bill, and it is at the White House for the president to sign. This has been folly personified - an expensive, unnecessary, embarrassing, damaging, and tactically flawed and misdirected rebellion, right from the start.

This country could benefit from a strong, sane, rational, and steady conservative voice. Instead, we are presented with a narrow group of supremely arrogant, ignorant, bigoted, and heavily-funded people, representing a very narrow percentage of the voting public, attempting to bring the country to it's knees, and failing miserably.

The culmination of this misery was Sarah Palin and Ted Cruz, standing with a group of racists outside the White House in a staged theater performance, flying the confederate flag, taking advantage of WWII veterans, speaking of Obama and the Quran, and trivializing the entire 2-week debacle.

Meanwhile, the damage has been done - to the country, the people, the Republicans, and the conservatives. And the worst of it is that it was entirely self-inflicted.

Mystic Michael

One of the great ironies here, from my point of view, is that in many ways Obama has actually been that sane, rational, steady conservative voice - certainly more conservative than I as a progressive Democrat would have preferred. As a centrist Democrat, many of Obama's policies have been at least as conservative as those of Bill Clinton - and Clinton was certainly no George McGovern, regardless of the crazed rhetoric from the Right.

Despite a pressing need to grow the stagnant economy he inherited in 2009, Obama agreed to aggressive deficit cuts - in direct violation of Keynesian economic doctrine, thereby slowing the economic recovery in order to placate Republican demands. He gets no credit from Republicans for having cut the deficit, but plenty of blame for the stagnant economic growth.

Several times, Obama has signaled his willingness to cut Social Security, Medicare & Medicaid - much to the consternation of his own supporters.

Look at the kind of economic officials with whom Obama has surrounded himself, like Tim Geithner, Larry Summers, etc. Not exactly Paul Krugman & Joseph Stiglitz. Alas.

Militarily, Obama has flexed the kind of muscle that many Neocon chicken hawks could only bluff about, i.e. hunting down OBL, intervening in the Libyan civil war, preparing to hit the Assad regime in Syria, etc.

But the Tea Party loons can't see any of it. Whenever they look at him, they see only Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson. And so we have the thinly-veiled threats, the gun-toting thugs crashing Congressional town hall meetings, the smears about being "Muslim", and "Kenyan", and "Marxist", etc. And now we have the Confederate flag flying outside the White House. (What's next? Cross burning on the front lawn?)

Whoever dares to point out the obvious is immediately shouted down as "playing the race card" - as if all the lynch mob tactics & imagery were mere figments of the accuser's imagination. Yet was John McCain - documented as having been born in the Panama Canal Zone - ever accused of being a Manchurian Scotsman?


Sqwauk, poly want a cracker. I thought Keith Olbermann was kick out as a political talking head! LOL your a hoot east coast boy! There is a big country out here that think your completely off your rocker and will continue to oppose your rants and hate. Stay there in New York, we like our small town, mostly rational people.


Who the he** is this "we" you speak of? You better stick to speaking for yourself because I sure don't want to be included in any of your drooling, crazed rants as part of your "we".

You don't read the other posts here do you? If you did you'd maybe realize that you are in a minority and the small town, mostly rational people you speak of would not let you in their house.

Tri-cities realist

Lanny, please cite who you consider to be a "a strong, sane, rational, and steady conservative voice."

From my perspective, the failure by Republicans was when they caved to Obama and the democrats. In typical fashion, compromise means agreeing with whatever the democrats want. This was the perfect opportunity to demand, and get, real govt spending reform, but in the end the majority of Republicans were too squeamish to stand by those values, they claim to hold. The conservative voters will remember this vote come primary time.

And regardless of what the polls say about the Tea Party movement, when you remove the labels, the majority of Americans agree with fiscally conservative principles, it is how most Americans run their own finances.

So it's back to business as usual in DC. Congratulations on not confronting the outrageous deficits, and kicking the can, yet again, down the road.

If Boehner and the rest of the GOP leadership were interested in restoring fiscal sanity, they should immediately take a page from Obama and Reid's book, and state unequivocally, that they will not support any budget that does not eliminate the deficit spending, and balance the budget. I think it was too little too late, this past round, in the end they didn't have the backbone. But if they come out swinging, and demand reform now, there is time to approve fiscally rational legislation, and let the democrats vote it down, if they so choose. But I'm not holding my breath, the current crop of GOP "leadership" is an oxymoron.


Although your argument seems sound, it is not based on fact. I wish it weren't so, but you seem to have a fog or haze clouding your perceptions of reality. Please, TCR - for your own good, study with an open mind what just happened, how it happened, and how the conservative politics of the last few years has not served conservatives well; in fact, it has harmed the conservative cause - perhaps irrevocably.

You have a right to be angry, but you are not directing your anger at the proper source.

A strong, sane, rational, steady voice would be someone with your sensibilities and pragmatism, not some idiot who flies the confederate flag in front of the White House, invoking the Quran, hijacking a WWII memorial protest of vets. I have three relatives, rest their souls, who served in WWII - all good, decent, smart conservative Republicans - who would be appalled by this capsule of conservative self-immolation.

You should be, too.

Tri-cities realist

What's not based on fact?


Well I see Big D just crawled from his dungeon. Sorry dude, I don't let any of these politicians piss me off and react to them. Kinda look at them the same way I scratch my head and look at you. If you get the blood cleared from your eyes you could see where I don't believe the Republican establishment OR the Democrats are the answer. These jack arses have controlled the politics for too long. It's healthy that the Republicans are at odds. Nothing new comes from everybody in perfect agreement. You're the one that needs to wake up. Cost are higher if you can sign up. It is estimated only 36k actually signed up.

LTA see above. The Republican party is the tail on the donkey. None of them as a group are worth the gum on my shoe. The unfortunate part is no matter if you hate most politicians as I do, you still need to have someone represent you as that's how our system is set up. You and BD are the perfect stooges for the Democrat politicians. Aligning with them because you think they are getting you something. MM is just too full of himself to even consider he is being duped. BTW, grow up, we are far from forming a militia and moving on Washington. I'm glad you don't own a gun, your not rational enough in your thinking to be responsible with one.


"You and BD are the perfect stooges for the Democrat politicians. Aligning with them because you think they are getting you something".

I don't align myself with any one group. I take each issue at face value, educate myself as much as possible and make an informed decision based on the facts as I can determine them. Sometimes someone from the right makes more sense, sometimes it's someone on the left. It's the blind aligence to a "party" that scares me. That's exactly how folks like Hitler attain power.

As for the militia comment, if you don't think we've reached the point where active protest is not needed then you are simply unaware of what's coming down the road. Continue to whine, pi** and moan from your easy chair and we'll see what happens. I may, or may not live long enough to tell you I told you so, but if you're less than 45 or so you'll probably live long enough to experience what I'm speaking about. I don't wish it on you or anybody else, but if you'd ever spent anytime with a history book you'd realize what has happened to governments and civilizations time and time again over the last several thousand years. I'd only ask you now then, why do you think the end result will be any different this time around.

If you're not willing to fight for what you believe in then you are simply a victim and will suffer those who want to rule over you. Good luck.


I agree with LTA on so many levels. Never have I aligned myself with any one party.. I have voted for both parties in my lifetime..Nixon (opps), Regan (1), Bush 1 (1), Clinton, Obama (2). I come from a BIG Republican family, some of whom are now and many who have been top elected officials of Ottawa County & Calhoun Co. However, each election is voted on according to my take on the issues, not any one party, sorry wingman. And I see your teaparty hurting Americans whenever it can, destroying the middle class. You say you are disgusted with both parties, well, maybe you are seeing the light after all. I have read your rants for a year now, they lean very right wing. I don't believe you have ever voted for a Democrat in your life, and I will call you out on that right here Wingmaster. As I concur with the blind allegiance/Hitler comment, do you.
I will be happy when the real revolution (at the polls) wipes your "arses" out of a job.
There is, however, no outrage today, as people are apathetic. They are busy playing games on their phones or chatting.


So BD & LTA have we reached a detente? We just have not come to the same conclusion as to how to solve it. You both are claiming to be independent thinkers but mimic the talking points of the main stream media. You are not thinking, you are following.

As far as voting goes, I will always vote for the most conservative candidate. Most of the time that is a Republican, and recently that has been a Rino Republican because the party has sold out and has been listening to their adversary in how to win by embracing more liberal positions. What a bunch of fools, since when do you listen to your enemy on how to win elections.

If you boys are as firebrand as you like to think you are, you would be listening more closely and would be more astute in your observations of the political parties shenanigans the last couple of weeks. BOTH parties need a house cleaning, the Republicans maybe going thru the beginning stages now.

Carry on, as I know you will. Realize everything your flinging at me can be said about yourselves.

I'm confident I'm prepared for the road ahead...are you?


You really don't read anybody else's posts, but your own do you?

I'm done trying to communicate with you. I'd be further ahead to shut my hand in a car door, least there'd be some feedback.

Like I said earlier, enjoy life in your cowpen when it comes down to it. No matter what side your on, you won't be winning anything.

I follow no one, but take what makes sense to me from anywhere I find it and try to make sense of this mess. If you think you've got it all figured out already then you ain't seeing the problems most of the rest of the people in this country are seeing. Work needs to be done. About time for milking ain't it?



Well, at least he answered that question like I knew he would. I was thinking more sheep, but any dumb animal will work. Sounds like WM is a prepper. Good job, hoard those guns and food, tough times they are a-comin'.


Well LTA, you really don't communicate with me or anyone. It's more like a bark because you don't have much positive to say about anyone. You appear more he11 bent on putting someone in their place, what ever that insecurity is about I have no idea.

Continue to wander out to pasture....I mean, in that pasture you seem suddenly fixated in. Maybe you'll find some happiness there, but here in real world people will push back on your callus yapping.

Probably should listen to that wife of yours more often you might find out how to effectively communicate.

Try to have a good night ok.

Tri-cities realist

But on a more positive note, I don't think the shutdown was entirely in vain. It showed us that we can still function as a nation, even with the govt partially shutdown. I suggest we have annual shutdowns for 2-3 months, perhaps then we could balance the budget.


Trouble with Odrama in charge, he will spent more on erecting barriers at open air parks to inflict pain on selected Americans to make his case then to just to leave them open and generate income.
Mr. Petty in chief and his cohorts will not let any crisis go to waste. The next show down will be no different.


...and stop with the childish, juvenile disrespect. I know you're spelling and grammar challenged, but his name is Obama and he's the president of YOUR country. Love it or leave it dude, ain't that what you bug-eyed ranters say all the time?

At least have some respect for the office, if not the person. You get to vote again in a couple years. Maybe your guy will make it in there next time.


Don't bother, brother. The imbecile has as much respect for his President as he has for his fellow downtrodden & women (none). Everyone sees that.


Thanks for the lesson in decorum BD...not!


New to posting. My Dad was one party, I am another yet we lived by the same set of rules. Live within your means, save a little for a rainy day. The City has to balance their budget, the state has to balance theirs, The Federal just prints money. Maybe we all work on the same goal as citizens of the greatest country the world has ever known.


A voice of reason. Thanks for showing up.




Democrats/Liberals/Socialists - Congratulations on your win in the Congress! Let's see what exactly your winning entails: (1) Support for the proposition that refusing to talk and refusing to negotiate is a reasonable position to take to reach a "bipartisan" compromise; (2) Support for the proposition that it is perfectly reasonable for the Senate to refuse to produce a budget; (3) Support for the proposition that, contrary to historical precedent, where individual appropriations are made by the Appropriations Committees of the House and Senate (initiated by the House constitutionally because the House members are elected every 2 years and are closest to the voters), it is now acceptable to fund the government on a crisis basis via Continuing Resolution because the Senate didn't produce a budget and refused to vote on the House appropriations bills, thus taking power from individual Members of Congress and giving it to the Leadership of both Houses; (4) raising the national debt limit for roughly 4 months when the whole Pelican Dance starts over again; (5) ensuring the individuals will have to pay the Obamacare tax while big business was exempted for a year; (6) ensuring the Congresscritters will have their healthcare subsidized by roughly 75%, contrary to the terms of Obamacare; (7) successfully scaring low information voters and the increasing number dependent on government that stopping additional debt and borrowing would cause a default and harm the full faith and credit of the United States; and yes, (8) the Kentucky Kickback - a $3 Billion earmark for a project pushed by Republican Mitch h McConnell.

So you won - and as American manufacturing jobs continue to disappear and we have a service economy where money is earned by paying others to perform services but there are no jobs or only part-time jobs to support it, the only way to sustain it is to borrow more money from China and redistribute wealth through government entitlements - TANF, SNAP, unemployment, and SSI disability, et al. - one heck of a way to support an economy, but - you won - Congratulations!


Hey, Sandypants - I think Vladie needs a hug.

Vlad - Recognizing your comment is based on the height of ironing, you and I both know that nobody won here. Everybody lost big, with the Tea Party losing the most - literally and figuratively. The Koch Bros, and other tax-exempt 501(3)c groups, spent over $200 Million behind the planning, the scheming, the mapping out, the media propaganda, the lobbying, the bribes and kick-backs, all to kill the ACA, using the budget impasse, the eventual shut down of the government, and the threat of a government default with the most serious global consequences, as tools of extortion. Rather than work within the system, conservatives refused to even talk with Obama for months prior to the dirty deed, fully expecting him to capitulate in the end - just as he did in 2011. Instead, they ceremoniously, and with great expense, passed repeal proposals 44 times, knowing the effort would go nowhere.

The entire sordid strategy bypassed regular rules of order. It was a failed strategy right out gates. For claiming to be fiscally conservative, the strategy did succeed in adding many dozens of Billions to the federal debt. It hurt the government - which it intended to do - badly, on many levels, without gaining a single advantage. It hurt the American people - badly - on many levels, and highlighted a craven, corrupt strategy that had nothing to do with the Senate passing a budget or governing via continual Continuing Resolutions, or any other lofty sentiment.

While you and I share concern regarding the stagnant economy, the soft jobs outlook, societal trends, the future of all our children/grandchildren, the Tea Party radicals care not a whit. Their time, attention, money, energy, and whatever little intellect some of them possess was spent on killing the signature legislation that our first African-American president was elected and re-elected on, and they did it not out of love of country, the American people, or conservative values. They did it out of racism, greed, pathological issues, and tremendous mental and philosophical weakness.

As an honest conservative, you should be angry. I am sincerely sorry for your loss.



Post a Comment

Log in to your account to post comments here and on other stories, galleries and polls. Share your thoughts and reply to comments posted by others. Don't have an account on Create a new account today to get started.