Congress Votes to Re-Open the Government and Avert Financial Catastrophe by Raising the Debt Limit

FEDERAL BUDGET MUST BE PASSED AGAIN BY JANUARY 15, 2014, AND THE DEBT CEILING WILL EXPIRE ON FEBRUARY 7, 2014

On Thursday, October 17, 2013, the federal government re-opened after a 16-day shut down during which time as many as 800,000 government employees were furloughed.  In addition to the numerous hardships caused by this shut down, economists and policy analysts agree that it cost the U.S. government and the national economy as much as $24 billion in lost economic output.  And, while the final agreement which ended the shutdown also included language to retroactively compensate federal employees for the shutdown period, private-sector workers and contractors are not so fortunate.

Perhaps the biggest tragedy of this whole mess is that it could repeat itself in the very near future.  Under the agreement which ended the shut down, the federal government is funded through January 15, 2014, and the debt ceiling is set to expire on February 7, 2014.  Because extremists in both the U.S. Senate and the U.S. House did not get what they were demanding during this shut down (including a repeal of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare, a.k.a. comprehensive health care reform), they are considering causing another shut down in January.

Attached is a listing which shows how every Member of the U.S. House and the U.S. Senate voted on the bill which ended the shut down and avoided a federal default on the U.S. government’s financial obligations.  The Senate passed the bill by a margin of 81 yeas to 18 nays just before 8:00 pm on October 16; the House passed it by a margin of 285 yeas to 144 nays just after 10:00 pm on the same evening, and President Obama signed it into law just before midnight.

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