Senator Ted “Banzai!” Cruz has become an expert in suicidal politics
The Congressional Republicans’ Kamikazi politics ended up in flames today when the House voted 285 to 144 to okay a Senate plan approved earlier 81 to 18 to end the government shutdown and increase the debt limit.
Spearheaded by Senator Ted Cruz, the Republicans had demanded that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) be defunded as a condition for ending the government shutdown.
The Republicans’ obstructionism and recklessness had resulted in a shutdown of government for 16 days. Meanwhile the Treasury had set an October 17 date by when the U.S.’s ability to borrow would have ended.
President Obama says he will sign the legislation to end the shutdown as soon as it reaches his desk.
The Dow Jones index had slid sharply Tuesday as the October 17 date neared with fears that even some default by the U.S. would trigger instability in the Global financial markets.
Even then, several weeks of acrimonious negotiations can be expected as the deal hammered out and passed today by both Houses funds the federal government only through January 15. The debt ceiling is raised only through February 7.
Still, here in New York and elsewhere elected officials and activists quickly issued statements lauding the deal.
“Our national nightmare is over,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY). “The government will reopen, a default has been averted and it’s time to get back to doing the business of the American people.”
The New York City Comptroller John C. Liu, while welcoming the agreement said: “It is dismaying that a handful of members of Congress were able to bring the nation so close to a financial catastrophe. There are some in Washington who claim that default would be manageable. This view is ignorant and irresponsible. The financial crisis of 2008 demonstrated the depth and pervasiveness of global financial linkages. If the U.S. Treasury defaults on its obligations no one can predict the financial chain reaction that will ensue, but it is sure to be disastrous for the world, the nation, and the City of New York.”
“Congress will only have a short time to make certain that a crisis like this does not happen again. The American people should never have to worry that this nation will be unable to pay its bills. Workers should not have to fear that their pension investments will be at risk because Congress did not do its job,” Liu added. “The last two weeks have been costly and painful. Thousands of federal employees living in New York City were either idle at home or not being paid for their work during the shutdown. Government offices, many parks, and other federal facilities were closed.”
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director of ColorOfChange.org, the online civil rights organization with over 900,000 members, said:
“Over two weeks ago, the extreme right wing shut down the government, wreaking havoc in the lives of everyday people by jeopardizing crucial business, veterans, health and education services. Tea Party conservatives engineered the current shutdown and default crisis with a dual purpose in mind — to dismantle the Affordable Care Act and defund the social safety net.”
He added: “The Black community has borne the heaviest burden in the wake of the standoff. Thanks to anti-discriminatory hiring safeguards, Blacks and Latinos make up a larger share of the public workforce, many of whom were furloughed during this two-week standoff. Moreover, the unemployment rate in Black communities continues to hover in the double digits. A prolonged government shutdown would have only exacerbated an already precarious situation for communities still reeling from the harsh, across the board sequester cuts imposed earlier this year. For all of the economic chaos and destruction the shutdown caused, it has made one thing crystal clear — we need a functioning government that protects the social safety net. Compromising on our long-term stability and balancing the budget on the backs of our community is not an option.”