By a vote of 81 to 18, the United States Senate voted today to pass a bill to end the government shutdown and to avert a government shutdown, according to CBS News, October 16, 2013. The agreement was a product of the efforts of Senator Harry Reid (D-CA) and Senator Mitch McConnell, (R-Ky). The bill is very similar to the one proposed over two months ago when this debate began.
Reid, speaking from the Senate floor, denoted how the process of brokering this deal was very hard, and referenced the virtues of the art of compromise during negotiations:
This compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs. It's never easy for two sides to reach consensus. It's really hard, sometimes harder than others. This time was really hard."
Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tx) expressed his intense dislike for the bill on the Senate floor moments before the vote:
This is a terrible deal. This deal embodies everything about the Washington establishment that frustrates the American people."
Cruz's remarks were made in the wake of his now infamous meeting with fellow Republican Senators and members of Congress, at a Mexican restaurant, to strategize their next moves after the upcoming Senate vote to approve the compromise bill. Cruz also was speaking to reporters at the same time that Mitch McConnell was announcing the Senate vote. Cruz stated, “Unfortunately, the Washington establishment is failing to listen to the American people, ” according to the New York Times, October, 16, 2013.
House Speaker John Boehner was more conciliatory than Cruz in his remarks, promising that House Republicans would not do anything to sabotage the deal:
Blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us. In addition to the risk of default, doing so would open the door for the Democratic majority in Washington to raise taxes again on the American people and undo the spending caps in the 2011 Budget Control Act without replacing them with better spending cuts. Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president's health care law will continue. We will rely on aggressive oversight that highlights the law's massive flaws and smart, targeted strikes that split the legislative coalition the president has relied upon to force his health care law on the American people."
House Republicans, although very disappointed in the agreement reached in the Senate, have been charitable towards Boehner so far and have not outright blamed him for the outcome of the negotiations which by all accounts did not go their way. Rep.Paul Labrador (R-Id) actually praised Speaker Boehner at a meeting of conservatives this evening:
I think Speaker Boehner has done a fantastic job the last two and a half weeks. I think he has listened to his conference. I am more disappointed in some of the Republicans that have been wanting to cave from the beginning. Instead of giving the Speaker the ability to fight, they have been just continually going to the media and complaining about the fact that we are in a fight."
The agreement will fund the government through January 15, 2014 and will raise the deb ceiling through February 7, 2014. And then the debate will start all over again with each side mobilizing and digging in its heals once again, except that then it will be much closer to the midterm elections. The upcoming elections most likely will change the dynamics of the debate; but it remains to be seen just exactly how things play out at that time.