In one of the least surprising events in recent memory, the Senate has reached a last minute, bipartisan agreement to both avoid default and end the government shutdown after sixteen pointless days.
Both Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) indicated that the deal wasn't what their side had hoped for, but it was better than had been feared or proposed by their opponents on the other side of the aisle. This is the language used to prepare constituents on both sides for disappointment when the details are revealed.
And while Senators from the group of 14 who worked to present this deal, seven Republicans, six Democrats and one Independent, took to the floor of the Senate to thank each other for finally working together to craft and end to this nonsense, the party is still a bit premature. The bill now has to go to the House, where the problem started and still lives. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) still has to convince his renegade band of Tea Party conservatives that this is a deal that simply must be done and that their little debacle is over.
To do that, he runs the risk of losing their confidence, and potentially his position as Speaker.
For the record, Sen Ted Cruz (R-TX), whose 21 hour rambling on the floor of the Senate about how the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) was set to unravel the very fabric of the United States and how this was the time for true conservatives to stand up to the President and the Democrats set the tone for House Tea Party conservatives to create this pathetic scenario, has said he opposes the deal, but will not delay its proceeding with another mindless rant.
Previously, it seemed as if the concession regarding the Affordable Care Act was going to be removal of the medical device tax that was put in place to assist with funding the law. This of course would have created a scenario by which conservatives could later come back and indicate the negative impact of the law on both the debt and the deficit, which would then rally support behind a situation they created by removing some of the funding to finance the law. Since most people don't remember what passes in a law from day to day, they would blindly agree with the talking heads and rally further for the repeal of the law.
Now it seems as though the concession will come in a clause that will make people verify their income before they can qualify for tax subsidies for insurance coverage under the new law. It certainly falls short of the total defunding, or the delay in the punitive phase for individuals who fail to sign up in time, so how the Tea Party members in the House will sell it to their narrow base will be interesting.
It also would appear possible that Democrats could have more support for this bill in the House than Republicans, clearly illustrating what everyone already knows, that there is actually two parties within the GOP, and that their ability to actually lead on an issue is impossible since they can't even agree with themselves.
In the end, this is not a resolution by any means. It funds the government until January 15th and extends the debt limit until February 7th, which means we will most likely revisiting this stupidity again in the new year.
If the 80th Congress from 1947-1949 was labeled the "Do Nothing Congress", this group of misfits has certainly earned the moniker of the "Kick The Can" Congress, as they have failed to reach a deal on anything comprehensive since they were sworn in January.