The Government Shutdown Has Ended

Narrowly avoiding the deadline to increase the debt ceiling, last night lawmakers agreed to end the government shutdown. Had the shutdown stretched into a 17th day (with Congress not approving a debt ceiling increase), the U.S. government would soon not have the ability to pay for commitments like Social Security and veterans’ benefits. Because of last night’s deal, hundreds of thousands of federal employees can now return to work and will start receiving paychecks. So, what did the shutdown accomplish? Aside from costing the American economy an estimated $24 billion, essentially, nothing. The Affordable Care Act, which was originally a point of contention, was pretty much unchanged. The only notable tweak to the new insurance program is that the government must confirm that who people receive federal health care subsidies are eligible. Even some of the lawmakers who originally orchestrated the shutdown strategy conceded that it was basically a failure. House Speaker John Boehner told a radio station in his home state, “We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win.” Before your faith in the legislative process is restored too greatly, we are reminded that lawmakers will once again have to approve government funding in January, meaning we could be heading for the same sort of stand-off again in just a few months …

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