October 17, 2013 congress has passed a measure to avert a threatened US default and reopen the federal government, a move intended to end a prolonged fiscal crisis that gripped the US and threatened the world economy.
The deal, however, offers only a temporary fix and does not resolve the fundamental issues of spending and deficits that divide Republicans and Democrats. It funds the government until January 15 and raises the debt ceiling until February 7, so Americans face the possibility of another government shutdown early next year.
It appears the current status quo of government is to put bandaids on everything when major surgery is required. Both the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-controlled House of Representatives approved the plan, with the Senate passing the measure by 81 votes to 18 and the House 285 votes to 144.
President Barack Obama signed the bill before Thursday's deadline for Congress to increase the federal debt limit. He applauded the Senate compromise. However, postponing a crisis is no where near a solution.
'We need to get out of the habit of governing by crisis,' Obama said, speaking at the White House. Did we miss something? The crisis wasn't solved it was stapled together at the seams and boxed up for early next year when people will be waiting on their income tax checks and the like!
The current solution was no more than a magicians slide of hand trick as no real solution was provided and instead the American people were fed yet another delay tactic. He announced his intentions to move forward this year and work on new bills, including reforming the 'broken' immigration system, passing a farm bill, and working on a 'sensible' budget. It appears this administration has become a predictable broken record stuck on rewind rather than fast forward as promised many times over.
Al Jazeera's Patty Culhane, reporting from Washington, said: 'Basically, in the next three to four months, leaders from both parties are going to come up with some sort of budget agreement.This is something they have tried to do five times before and they've always been unsuccessful.' Sound familiar?
The crisis began on October 1 with a partial shutdown of the federal government after House Republicans refused to accept a temporary funding measure unless Obama agreed to defund or delay his health care law.
Obama vowed repeatedly not to pay a 'ransom' in order to get Congress to pass normally routine legislation as the lack of budgeting and intead raising the debt ceiling has become his norm. The deal makes no significant changes in President Obama’s healthcare law, which Republicans, particularly in the House, had previously demanded. Democrats provided the additional votes needed to pass the bill in the Republican-led House. So who was really holding the ransom?
This statement best sums it all up: 'I’m genuinely pleased that cooler heads have finally prevailed,' Rep. Charlie Dent, a moderate Pennsylvania Republican, said shortly before the vote. The bill, he said, 'must be supported, but it should not be celebrated.'
The stand-off between Republicans and the White House over funding the government forced the temporary lay-off of hundreds of thousands of federal workers from October 1 and created concern that crisis-driven politics was the 'new normal' in Washington.