The high-stakes games that is congressional politics that kept us at the edge of our seats, as we veered closer to the Oct. 17 deadline that could cause the U.S. to default on its debt, throwing the nation, if not the entire world, into an economical tailspin as great or greater than the one we just crawled out of – is finally over. After Democrats rejected the House Republicans last plan, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reopened talks that had been stalled to let the House act first; those talks led to some encouraging progress regarding the specific of when deals would be cut, and things looked favorably Monday night; Tuesday morning House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the House would resolve the crisis on its own terms; Tuesday was spent, therefore, in the House Republicans scrambling ineffectually for a plan; a resolution at that point needed to come promptly. After Boehner was unable to get his republicans to agree on a plan, the Senate made the deal that sealed the government’s finances.
The talks between Reid and McConnell were apt at setting up reasonable dates for funding the government through January 15, raising the debt ceiling through Feb. 7, and appointing budged conferences for deficit reduction by December 13. It also included minor provisos for the Treasury Department to use extraordinary measures to avoid future default, and would also require income verification for those seeking subsidies under Obamacare. The new plans would not involve any negotiation on managing a reasonable government budget that was not undone by funding Obamacare. In fact, most Republican considerations were not taken into account – and as the decisions have been brought to crisis point by both Republicans and Democrats, emergency mode had been resorted to.
Nevertheless, after Boehner failed to make an alternative plan, the talk of Reid and McConnell was agreed upon Wednesday, spelling out mostly a victory for Democrats, who gave very few concessions regarding the cost and practice of Obamacare, leaving it virtually unchanged.
“The eyes of the world were on Washington this week,” said Reid. “And while they witnessed a great deal of political discord, today they will also see Congress reach a historic, bipartisan agreement.”
“After yesterday’s events, the majority leader and I began a series of conversations about a way to get the government re-opened and prevent default” said McConnell. “I’m confident we’ll be able to begin to do both things later today.”
And that they did. The game is over, and further, they are changing the rules so that it can’t be played this way again. Furloughed employees will get back pay, and an open conference committee has been instated to hash out their differences for a long-term solution.