The Senate has successfully crafted a deal that would end the government shutdown and temporarily suspend the debt ceiling; both houses may vote on the proposal Wednesday. The accord would fund the government through January 15 and allow the United States to continue borrowing money until February 7.
The government has been closed for more than two weeks because Republicans and Democrats did not pass a funding bill before the October 1 deadline. Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, attempted to use the budget impasse as an opportunity to defund or alter the Affordable Care Act. Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama refused any proposal that included such changes, and said Republicans were attempting to "hold the government hostage" over their opposition to the 2010 health care law.
During the shutdown, House Republicans passed piecemeal bills to fund certain parts of the government, but Obama opposed any measure that did not reopen operations in full.
On Wednesday after the deal was struck, Cruz said he wouldn’t vote for the Senate plan, but also would not attempt to prevent a vote from taking place. He defended his repeated attacks on the health care law, and said the refusal to cave, even though it led to the shutdown, was "a remarkable victory:"
Months ago when the effort to defund Obamacare began, official Washington scoffed. They scoffed that the American people would rise up, they scoffed that the House of Representatives would do anything and they scoffed that the Senate would do anything. We saw first of all millions upon millions of Americans rise up all over this country, over two million people signing a national petition to defund Obamacare.
He added, "I would point out that had Senate Republicans united and supported House Republicans, the outcome of this, I believe, would have been very, very different. I wish that had happened."
The entire Republican Party did not share this view, however, with Sen. John McCain of Arizona opposing the defund Obamacare push. He said it was obvious from the beginning that the tactic would not work, because the Senate did not have enough votes to override a presidential veto. "We started this on a fool’s errand, convincing so many millions of Americans and our supporters that we could defund Obamacare," McCain said.
Polling showed the public largely held Republicans responsible for the impasse that led to the shutdown, with 46 percent of respondents in a Pew Research Poll blaming the GOP. Thirty-seven percent blamed the Obama administration.
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- Read Eric Schnurer: Baby Boomers Are Running Up the National Debt and Undermining Education
- Read Pat Garofalo: The Shutdown Debt Ceiling Deal Sows the Seeds of the Next Crisis
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