Did Congress learn anything?

16-day government shutdown ends.
MCT Regional News
Oct 17, 2013

House Republicans should consider themselves lucky to have wound up empty-handed after triggering a 16-day government shutdown and threatening to turn the United States into a deadbeat borrower.

Had Senate leaders not rushed to the rescue, cutting a deal on a bill to reopen the government and lift the debt limit before Thursday’s deadline, the damage to the economy could have been enormous — with the political fallout landing mainly on the House GOP, especially its uncompromising cadre of tea party absolutists. The question for lawmakers now is whether they learned the obvious lesson from the latest manufactured crisis: It’s impossible to govern from the extreme.

The agreement that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., worked out Wednesday was, in essence, the same one that has been on the table since before the shutdown began Oct. 1. The government will stick to the fiscal 2013 spending limits though Jan. 15, and the Treasury will be able to borrow money through Feb. 7. Meanwhile, the two chambers will convene a conference committee on their competing budget resolutions for fiscal year 2014, with a deadline of mid-December for resolving their differences.

The measure includes none of the provisions demanded by House Republicans: no delay or defunding of the 2010 healthcare law, no wiping out the health benefits of lawmakers or their aides. In other words, the House GOP got bupkis for the crisis it precipitated by holding the entire government hostage to an attack on Obamacare.

And what did we get? Another blow to the struggling economy. Economists say the shutdown cost billions of dollars in lost wages and consumer spending. Investors were rattled at the notion that Congress might deliberately not pay some of the country’s bills. And the vaunted U.S. democratic process took a beating globally.

Congress could have averted the fiasco entirely if the House and Senate had negotiated a compromise budget for fiscal 2014 early in the year, as Democrats sought. But the House GOP leadership bet it could multiply its leverage by putting off the talks until it could threaten to shut down the government and stiff some creditors. Then Republicans frittered away whatever leverage they might have gained by following the tea party’s lead and trying to roll back the healthcare law, which they simply did not have the votes to do.

Most Americans strongly opposed the shutdown, and according to one Democratic polling firm, they’re taking their anger out on the GOP. Also, a new Pew Research survey found that nearly half the country views the tea party unfavorably now, up from a quarter in 2010. These numbers should motivate mainstream Republicans in Congress to try to accomplish something meaningful — maybe even the elusive “grand bargain” on spending, taxes and entitlements that would address Washington’s long-term deficit and debt problems.

Such a deal won’t be possible unless Democrats show more flexibility than they have in the past too. One encouraging sign Wednesday was the statement by a bipartisan group of 40 Democrats and Republicans supporting the Reid-McConnell compromise and pledging to keep working together on a long-term deficit reduction plan.

Yet tea party Republicans are getting a very different message. The Pew survey shows that the episode boosted the popularity of Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, one of the instigators of the “defund Obamacare” effort, among Republicans in general and tea party followers in particular — even as it hurt him with other groups. Several like-minded House Republicans blamed the “Surrender Caucus” within the GOP, suggesting they could have won the legislative tussle had they only kept fighting. Kind of like the Vietnam War.

In other words, Wednesday’s agreement may just set up more brinkmanship in 2014, when the looming party primaries will drive members even further from the political center. To avoid the increasingly destructive dysfunction, the two sides have to strike a broad budget deal before the end of the year. That won’t be easy, even though the deficit has been shrinking. But having seen what happens when the Shutdown Caucus hijacks the Republican Party, lawmakers on both sides should be eager to avoid a rerun.

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©2013 Los Angeles Times

Visit the Los Angeles Times at www.latimes.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services

Comments

Contango

Re: "the deficit has been shrinking."

But the debt-to-GDP ratio continues to rise.

http://www.marketwatch.com/story...

We've been living beyond our means, while using the Federal Reserve's and the world's credit cards for far too long.

Countries like individuals do go bankrupt.

44846GWP

You would prefer the country went into default?

Contango

Re: "default"

On it's present course of tax, borrow, print and spend, THAT is an inevitability.

According to the CBO, entitlement spending and the eligibility of the baby boomers will eventually engulf the fed budget and crowd out all other spending.

iwin22

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In my opinon

George Bush's use of credit cards for two wars and the 24 billion the republicans were responsible for because they didn't put it to a vote the first time around.

JACKEL

Just watched an interview in D.C. on the streets and we finally have the answer to the shutdown. The Blacks all say it is Bush's fault.

Contango

Re: "Bush's fault."

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong."

- H.L. Mencken

Uputwhatwhere7

Did anyone realize during the shutdown that the president signed a bill limiting our 1st amendment rights? I will try to find the link to the fox news report and post it. It makes it a FELONY to protest in the vicinity of the secret service if they deem what you are saying is offensive to the president or other elected official. Talk about stomping all over our constitutional rights while the government is bickering about other things.

Dr. Information

That is what Obama has been doing since day one in office. Limiting our rights.

buckeye15

First of all, if the president signed it into law, that means it had to be passed by a Republican House of Representatives. That isn't likely because right now the Repubs have their heads so far up their butts, they can't even pass gas right now.

As usual, Fox News is leading simple minds astray. They were probably referring to HR 347, which was passed in March, 2012, and despite what FOX says, it does not limit 1st Amendment rights.

In my opinon

Amen, finally someone who gets it, This is a president who cares about people and it's not all about big money. Our government. should work for the people not the corporations. These special interest groups should not be aloud to direct our government for their benefit.

Dr. Information

@in my opinon. Well you statement is again just your opinion. The rich have gotten richer under Obama's 5 year term quicker than ever before in history. Guess you must of missed that report.

Cares about people? Really. He and the Dems forced a healthcare law down the throats of us Americans and wait, exempted all of Washington from it. That is caring for the people? Every polls shows that the people do not want Obamacare. If its so great, why aren't people signing up in droves? Early reports are showing some states on have hundreds of people signing up. Factor in the 400 million given to some company I believe out of Canada to create the website that is nothing short of a monstrosity and you have what you have today. Obama and the Dems must have all caught that Nanci Pelosi disease, called pass before we find out whats in it.

If you guys are going to make valid points and have a debate. Then bring facts please.

In my opinon

I have no idea what polls you are getting your info from, must be watching Fox news, In 2006 there was a glitch with the medicare part D that had problems took 56 days to fix but, of course who was in office then so no republicans found fault with that. We are the only industrialized nation in the world that does not provide affordable health care for their citizens. And you didn't mention the 24 BILLION republicans wasted with the shut down. Give all the truth not just yours. Internet swamped with people wanting to sign up. This law was passed through the house and senate and upheld by the surpreme court!

Dr. Information

@buckeye15 Forget history much? All of Washington was in majority control in 2009 by Democrats. They didn't need a Republican vote to pass anything. The President Dem, The House, Dem controlled, The Senate Dem controlled.
They had everything, so of course they could pass what they wanted too.

You fools need to research before you spout off false information once again....

buckeye15

Say what?? My response was directed at uputwhatupwhere for spouting some Fox nonsense. Her blather was about a bill just passed during the shutdown. If that was true it would have been passed by a Republican controlled house. I pointed out the lies of that and which bill she was referring to, which was passed in 2012, which was also a Republican controlled house. Perhaps you should work on your reading comprehension skills. Fact!

Dr. Information

Reagan saw it coming a long time ago. Watch and learn.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?fe...

Dr. Information

There will come a day, mark my words, where the spending and printing and borrowing will all come to a collapse along with this nation. There won't be anymore handouts to give, because our dollar wont be worth the paper its printed on. That day is coming soon. Our government and its business ways are simply unsustainable. Anyone arguing against that simply has no brain.

Uputwhatwhere7

I think it may be coming sooner than many think

JACKEL

Then the welfare's will riot.They were getting ready to now !

deertracker

The jackazz speaks!

Dr. Information

Go figure, the first liberal post and its name calling. How typical.

ladydye_5

They learned nothing. It will happen AGAIN in 30/60 days. It will happen everytime we hit the debt ceiling. Nothing was accomplished. Nothing was solved. It is nothing more than a pi $ $ ing contest. They throw mud back and forth, call each other names and WE the American people are the ones that suffer. VOTE EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THEM OUT! What happened to Congress working for US? What happened to OUR VOICE?

JACKEL

They are there for financial gain only.Why would they spend millions for few bucks in salary?

Contango

Re: "They are there for financial gain only"

I heard a couple figures yesterday:

50% of Senators return as lobbyists.

For one, bleeding heart former Dem rep. Richard Gephardt has repudiated most of liberal agenda and now earns $8M as a lobbyist.

http://www.gephardtgroup.com/Cli...

deertracker

Always bet on BLACK!

Dr. Information

racist.

KURTje

Dr. you need to enjoy life a bit more. Realize Congress & others in authority by & large do not care about the majority of Americans. We are their peasants.

Dr. Information

Realize that the people of Cuba didn't realize that Castro was a Communist either. They thought he was a nationalist and patriot. Then their country changed and changed quick. Obama has stressed that his personal beliefs growing up and what he was raised to believe will greatly influence the way he runs this country. I don't need to go into how he was raised how his father hated America and grandparents hated capitalism.

Things are changing for the worse.

Contango

Re: "didn't realize that Castro was a Communist either.

He was referred to as the Robin Hood of the Caribbean.

He was the toast of NY libs and lib Dems have often travelled to Cuba in order to kiss his "ring."

Gonna celebrate on the day that the old murderous bastard dies. Hurry up already!

TOPGUN01

I hope you got to see what your tea party really does???NOTHING!!EVEN WHEN THEY ARE AT WORK!!

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