GLOBALPOST LIVE BLOG: CRISIS AVERTED, JUST
UPDATE: 10/17/13 5:00 PM ET
This live blog is now closed. Please check here for further developments.
UPDATE: 10/17/13 4:30 PM ET
Will they, won't they?
Vice President Biden said Thursday morning that there was no guarantee that another federal government shutdown wouldn't happen in the future.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell sought to reassure those concerned.
"A government shutdown is off the table," McConnell told The National Review. "We're not going to do it."
He told The Hill, "I think we have fully now acquainted our new members with what a losing strategy that is."
After a bruising congressional standoff that led to some of the lowest favoribility ratings for Republicans on record, that response isn't surprising.
However, tea party Republican Sen. Ted Cruz might have something to say about that.
"I would do anything, and I will continue to do anything I can, to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare," Cruz said, when asked by ABC News whether he would rule out another shutdown."
He went on: "Washington focuses on the politics all day long. That’s what this town does, but what we saw in the deal last night, is that the US Senate is not concerned about all the people out of a job, all the people in part-time work, all the people whose health insurance premiums are skyrocketing, all the people who are losing their health insurance, and that’s happening because of Obamacare."
There are only three months until Jan. 15....
UPDATE: 10/17/13 1:00 PM ET
Watch Obama's speech
In case you missed it, here's Obama's statement Thursday morning, via CBS News:
The Washington Post has a complete transcript of his remarks.
UPDATE: 10/17/13 12:00 PM ET
Do you want the good news first or the bad news?
Okay, let's start with the bad news...
Economists at IHS Global Insight estimate that the shutdown will take a $3.1 billion chunk out of the gross domestic product, according to NBC News.
Standard & Poor's estimated the total cost of the shutdown to be $24 billion, but that's just an initial estimate.
Macroeconomic Advisers' estimate for the cost of the shutdown was closer to $12 billion. But as The Atlantic pointed out, if you added up the total cost of budget battles, including sequestration, the cost to the American economy is a whopping $700 billion.
More on that here: What did the shutdown cost the economy?
The bill that was passed last night only funds the government until mid-January, at which point hopefully Congress would have agreed on a budget.
Biden said, "Budgets are supposed to be fought over economic issues. There was no economic rationale for this at all. And I hope, I hope everybody walks away with a lesson that this is unnecessary and I hope we can regain the trust of the American people."
Now that you've swallowed the bitter pill... on to the good news.
Furloughed pandas welcomed back to the National Zoo including 8 week old cub. Panda Cams being turned on today. pic.twitter.com/3q4yXFokqp
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 17, 2013
Tourist gather at the reopened Lincoln Memorial early this morning... pic.twitter.com/8GmYkc6mEp
— Doug Mills (@dougmillsnyt) October 17, 2013
Allow me to reintroduce myself. I'm back on Twitter & even closer to Mars' Mount Sharp. http://t.co/GVWZBA5lvx
— Curiosity Rover (@MarsCuriosity) October 17, 2013
UPDATE: 10/17/13 11:30 AM ET
Obama: Shutdown 'inflicted completely unnecessary damage'
President Obama spoke from the White House Thursday morning, thanking "Democrats and responsible Republicans" for coming together to pass a bipartisan bill to reopen the government and avoid default.
"Let's be clear. There are no winners here," Obama said. "These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage to our economy."
"The American people are completely fed up with Washington," he added, chastising Congress for the weeks of gridlock and dysfunction that led to 16 days of shutdown.
Obama said the shutdown and a close shave with the United States nearly hitting its borrowing limit had already hurt the American economy, citing Fitch ratings agency.
"The only thing putting us at risk, and I'm quoting here, is repeated brinksmanship," Obama quoting Fitch pic.twitter.com/wD4ixJZo3w
— Priyanka Boghani (@priyankaboghani) October 17, 2013
The three things Obama said Congress could make progress on were:
1) A balanced budget
2) Immigration reform
3) The farm bill
In a pointed rebuke of Republicans in the House, Obama said:
"You don't like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election. Push to change it. But don't break it. Don't break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building."
Addressing furloughed workers at the end of his statement, Obama said, "Thank you. Thanks for your service. Welcome back. What you do is important."
UPDATE: 10/17/13 8:20 AM ET
Too much shutdown?
One of the stranger moments of last night's vote was provided by a House stenographer, who had to be escorted from the floor after yelling at lawmakers while they cast their ballots:
The microphone she shouted into was switched off, but according to The Washington Times she was heard to say:
"The greatest deception here is this is not one nation under God. It never was. Had it been, it would not have been. No. It would not have been. The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Praise forever."
The stenographer, named as Dianne Reidy — a longtime, well-liked employee, by several accounts — has since been sent for a pyschological examination, reports Fox News.
UPDATE: 10/17/13 5:30 AM ET
WATCH: Everything you need to know about Deal Day, in 3 minutes
The Washington Post has compiled the video highlights of yesterday's events. Here they are:
UPDATE: 10/17/13 4:45 AM ET
Let the blame games begin
Ted Cruz, the conservative Republican senator from Texas who was instrumental in getting House Republicans to mount their doomed effort to defund Obama's health care reforms, remains defiant after what most people would describe as a resounding defeat.
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) October 17, 2013
But he's at risk of finding himself in a one-man fight. With polls showing approval for the GOP plummeting, other members of his party have been quick to distance themselves from Cruz and the hard-liners he represents.
"I think it's important for Republican leaders around the country to speak out against him and neutralize him," New York Rep. Peter King, one of Cruz's most vocal critics, told BuzzFeed. "Otherwise he's going to start the same nonsense again in December or January. He's the guy that caused this, he's the guy who is a fraud because he never had a strategy to begin with. And if we let him do it again, it's our fault."
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) called it "a very bad two weeks for the Republican brand, for conservatism," while Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said it was "one of the most shameful chapters I have seen in the years I've spent in the Senate."
While first-termer Cruz — who has hinted at White House ambitions — certainly made his name known, he may also have shot himself in the foot. According to Dallas News, GOP strategist John Feehery believes that "Cruz's extremism has not just harmed the party. It will, in his view, make it impossible to win the GOP nomination for president in 2016, though Cruz could enjoy the notoriety of a Michele Bachmann or Sarah Palin, or win a third-party nomination if the Tea Party splits off."
The Texan news site's advice to its senator? Get a dog. "Because as the saying goes, if you want a friend in Washington, that's what you do."
UPDATE: 10/17/13 4:20 AM ET
Obama: 'There is a lot of work ahead of us'
As lawmakers cast their votes last night, President Barack Obama thanked Congressional leaders from both sides of the aisle "for coming together and getting this done."
Assuring reporters in the White House press room that the same thing wouldn't happen all over again in a matter of weeks, he said:
"We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis. And my hope and expectation is everybody has learned that there is no reason why we can't work on the issues at hand, why we can't disagree between the parties while still being agreeable, and make sure that we're not inflicting harm on the American people when we do have disagreements."
The president said he'd speak about the issue further on Thursday.
"There is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks," he said.
Read the full transcript of Obama's remarks here.
UPDATE: 10/17/13 2:10 AM ET
The deal passes
Late Wednesday night, first the Senate and then the House voted in favor of bipartisan legislation that avoided US default and ended the nation's second-longest government shutdown on record.
The deal passed passed 81-18 in the Senate and 285-144 in the House. President Obama signed it into law almost immediately afterward.
The deal, which extends the nation's debt ceiling through Feb. 7 and funds the government through Jan. 15, is generally seen as a victory for Obama and Democrats. It makes no major changes to Obama's health care reform law — the issue over which Republicans started the fight in the first place.
John McCain, the four-term Republican senator from Arizona, called it "one of the most shameful chapters I have seen in the years I've spent in the Senate."
For more details, read GlobalPost's full story here.
UPDATE: 10/16/13 5:40 PM ET
The vote is on
Here is where things stood on Wednesday evening:
- According to the Guardian, these are the expected vote times, sent from the Whip's office:
"The vote in the Senate will most likely occur sometime in the 6 p.m. - 7 p.m. neighborhood. (subject to change)
"At this time - there are no votes expected until 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. at the earliest (subject to change). The timing of the House votes is entirely contingent upon how quickly the Senate votes and delivers the necessary paperwork."
- The proposal the Senate and House will vote on would reopen the government until Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. Here is the full text of the bipartisan deal.
- President Obama could sign the bill late Wednesday night or early Thursday, reopening the federal government.
- As White House press secretary Jay Carney reminded everyone Wednesday, the Treasury would run out of its borrowing authority on Thursday.
UPDATE: 10/16/13 5:30 PM ET
All eyes on Washington
Sen. Mark Warner, speaking on the Senate floor Wednesday afternoon, said this latest crisis had already hurt the United States economy and America's reputation and credibility.
Warner, the senior senator from Virginia, warned that further crises and cuts would "put the full faith and credit of the United States in jeopardy."
"The Chinas and Russias of the world" would encourage moving away from the dollar, he said.
China's state-run news agency Xinhua ran a piece earlier this week, calling on the rest of the world to "de-Americanize."
"The world is still crawling its way out of an economic disaster thanks to the voracious Wall Street elites,” the commentary said.
"Most recently, the cyclical stagnation in Washington for a viable bipartisan solution over a federal budget and an approval for raising debt ceiling has again left many nations' tremendous dollar assets in jeopardy and the international community highly agonized."
Ultimately, the Xinhua commentary called for the "introduction of a new international reserve currency that is to be created to replace the dominant U.S. dollar, so that the international community could permanently stay away from the spillover of the intensifying domestic political turmoil in the United States."
Here are some more international reactions to the United States' default crisis, as all eyes remain on Washington tonight.
UPDATE: 10/16/13 3:50 PM ET
A light at the end of a very long tunnel
The Washington Post cites Democratic aides who said the Senate would vote on the proposal to end the shutdown before the House, either late in the afternoon or early in the evening.
"If the Senate approves the deal by early evening, the bill would go immediately to the House for a vote. No amendments are anticipated, so the House could possibly approve the legislation Wednesday night, sending it to Obama’s desk for his signature late Wednesday or early Thursday morning."
Speaker of the House John Boehner conceded defeat in Republican efforts to stop the Affordable Care Act: “We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win."
From CBS' White House correspondent:
In written statement, @SpeakerBoehner says "blocking the bipartisan agreement" reached by the Senate today, "will not be a tactic for us."
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 16, 2013
From NPR's congressional correspondent:
House vote expected tonight. Conservative rep says "we lost." He says it wasn't the first time, won't be the last. Fight continues.
— Tamara Keith (@tamarakeithNPR) October 16, 2013
UPDATE: 10/16/13 2:25 PM ET
House expected to meet at 3
"Republican leaders in the US House of Representatives have set a meeting for 3 p.m. on Wednesday to brief their members about the Senate's newly minted bipartisan deal to raise the debt limit and end the government shutdown."
Reuters adds: "The House is expected to approve the measure later in the day with mostly Democratic votes, aides said."
UPDATE: 10/16/13 2:00 PM ET
White House: Deal 'achieves what's necessary'
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the bipartisan Senate deal "achieves what's necessary," adding that Obama was ready to sign it pending Congressional approval.
Carney praised Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for working together, according to the Associated Press.
"We are not putting odds on anything," Carney replied when asked about the bill's chances on the House floor, according to the Guardian. "We are simply applauding the leaders of the Senate... and calling on both houses of Congress to act swiftly."
Carney struck a sober tone, saying, "There are no winners here. We've said that from the beginning and we're going to say that right up to the end because it's true. The American people have paid a price for this."
The Washington Post's White House reporter noted:
There's a reason White House isn't uber-excited about debt deal: It doesn't achieve anything but functioning of gov't.
— Zachary A. Goldfarb (@Goldfarb) October 16, 2013
UPDATE: 10/16/13 1:00 PM ET
As Politico previously reported, the bipartisan Senate proposal worked out by Reid, McConnell and others would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.
When McConnell spoke after Reid, he took the opportunity to criticize the Affordable Care Act: "This law is ravaging our economy, killing jobs, driving up premiums and driving people off the coverage they have, and like, in droves."
The New York Times noted, "The deal, with the government shutdown in its third week, yielded virtually no concessions to the Republicans, other than some minor tightening of income verifications for people obtaining subsidized insurance under the new health care law."
Sen. Lindsey Graham said, "This has been a really bad two weeks for the Republican Party."
UPDATE: 10/16/13 12:40 PM ET
We have a deal...
...in the Senate at least.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid opened the afternoon session of the Senate announcing that an agreement had been reached to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling.
"The country came to the brink of disaster," Reid said. "The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs."
The deal would have to be passed by the House and could still be stalled by a solitary senator.
All eyes were on Texan Sen. Ted Cruz, who recently pulled an all-nighter in an effort to defund Obamacare, but this is what he said:
BREAKING: Asked if he intends to delay Senate vote, @SenTedCruz says "Of course not."
— Frank Thorp V (@frankthorpNBC) October 16, 2013
Ted Cruz: "Unfortunately, once again it appears the Washington establishment is refusing to listen to American people."
— Anup Kaphle (@AnupKaphle) October 16, 2013
.@SenTedCruz tells reporters he'll vote against the Senate compromise plan, but won't try to block it's consideration.
— Mark Knoller (@markknoller) October 16, 2013
UPDATE: 10/16/13 12:10 PM ET
Has this crisis already cost us?
We're cautioning that it might be too soon to call this over, but the markets have already taken reports of the Senate deal and run with it.
According to CNBC, stocks surged on the latest news, with the S&P 500 nearing record highs.
Ian Bremmer, a political scientist and author, commented:
Markets way up on absolutely minimum threshold of American governance. Imagine the impact if Congress was competent.
— ian bremmer (@ianbremmer) October 16, 2013
However, Fitch said Tuesday that it was putting the United States 'AAA' credit rating on watch for a potential downgrade.
In a statement, Fitch said, "The repeated brinkmanship over raising the debt ceiling also dents confidence in the effectiveness of the U.S. government and political institutions, and in the coherence and credibility of economic policy."
"Credit ratings are important because they indicate the likelihood of the borrower defaulting. Any change to a rating, especially the credit rating of the United States, can have a significant impact on financial markets.
"Standard & Poor’s decision to downgrade the US rating to AA-plus in August 2011 due to the previous debt ceiling standoff triggered turmoil in global financial markets that lasted weeks."
UPDATE: 10/16/13 11:55 AM ET
How did we get here?
The New York Times has a great graphic outlining all the negotiations and competing proposals between the House and Senate, leading up to and including the government shutdown:
— Priyanka Boghani (@priyankaboghani) October 16, 2013
UPDATE: 10/16/13 11:45 AM ET
What was it all for?
It's still too early to declare the crisis over, and the Senate proposal would still only reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling temporarily... kicking the can down the road until 2014.
But what was it all for? What did the Republicans win through this standoff?
At least that seems to be the consensus, though it's hardly a triumph for Democrats.
"Had the House passed the 'clean' continuing resolution it was offered on September 30, the government would have remained open only until November 15, at the reduced funding levels determined by the 'sequestration' cuts imposed by the 2011 debt-limit deal. Republicans still would have had the debt-ceiling deadline Thursday, plus another budget fight on the horizon a month later, as perceived points of leverage."
UPDATE: 10/16/13 11:30 AM ET
Senate reaches a deal
Senate leaders reportedly came to an agreement on Wednesday to reopen the government after 16 days and avoid a potentially catastrophic default.
The Associated Press cited a Republican Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) who said the House will vote on the plan first to expedite its approval in Congress.
The plan, similar to the one discussed late on Monday and Tuesday morning, would fund the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, according to officials.
Robert Costa, National Review's Washington editor, tweeted:
Per Sen sources, Boehner has agreed to take up the Senate's plan and allow it to pass with Dem votes.
— Robert Costa (@robertcostaNRO) October 16, 2013
And this from the Guardian's business correspondent:
— dominic rushe (@dominicru) October 16, 2013
UPDATE: 10/16/13 10:10 AM ET
House plans to vote on Senate proposal
Republican leadership in the United States House of Representatives is reportedly considering voting on a Senate proposal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling before the US government runs out of money.
The report from Politico says such a move would speed up the bipartisan legislation worked on by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The House GOP failed to find an alternative plan Tuesday that would have passed the House, much less the Democrat-controlled Senate.
Politico noted that any senator could still hold up the bill in the Senate past the Oct. 17 deadline, now just a day away.
Oct. 17 is the day beyond which US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said the US government would no longer be able to guarantee paying its bills. However, it would not run out of money on Thursday.
With $30 billion still left in its coffers, the government would run out of money some time between Oct. 22 and Nov. 1, according to the Bipartisan Policy Center's estimates.
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