By Alejandro Freixes, CCNN Head Writer
After 16 days of the government shutdown caused by Republicans and Democrats in Congress squabbling over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and raising the debt ceiling (letting the country borrow more money), an agreement has been reached.
Just moments before the US was going to dive off the economic cliff on Thursday, making the World Bank’s worst fears of international chaos come true, the parties slapped together a bandage. The only problem? The wound isn’t healed. They’ve just kicked the can down the road, until January of next year. Then, it’s all probably going to start over again.
US President Barack Obama isn’t terribly pleased, as he says Washington politicians need to “get out of the habit of governing by crisis.” He told reporters, “Hopefully, next time, it will not be in the 11th hour.” Although the phrase 11th hour is not meant to be taken literally (it’s just an expression for “last minute”), in this case, it was practically done in the actual 11th hour of the night!
While Republicans pressured Democrats to defund, delay, or just plain change Obamacare, they didn’t get much of anything. Republican House Speaker Boehner says, “We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” while Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expressed, “We’ve been able to come together for a lot of different reasons.” Well, at least one of those reasons was Republicans getting a small Obamacare change, that requires the government to double-check whether people meet the requirements for health care funds.
Not all Republicans were supportive of the strategy to tie Obamacare changes to the shutdown, like Senator Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, who called it “an ill-conceived strategy from the beginning, not a winning strategy.” Whether the Republicans were looking for political bonus points with their voters or actual changes, it looks like they barely ended up with either of them. If anything, polls showed most Americans blamed the shutdown on Republicans. The Democrats definitely stuck to their guns and refused to negotiate, though, so it’s tough to just pick one party for the blame. It’s safe to say that the House of Representatives in Congress gets extra negative points, since the Senate seems more able to compromise.
Featured image courtesy of US Capitol on Flickr. Image of Democrats in Oval Office courtesy of White House.