The New York Times reports that a last minute deal has been reached to reopen the Federal Government (following a shutdown that began at the start of the month) and avert a National Default. The bill, which largely mirrored negotiations occurring in the Senate recently, passed the upper chamber in the early evening, before the House passed the bill around 10 o’clock. President Obama then signed the bill just before a possible default.
The bill both suspends the debt ceiling through February and funds the government through January. Additionally, a bicameral, bipartisan budget conference committee will meet starting in December. Back pay is also included for all furloughed Federal workers. All Democratic conditions. Finally, as a token gesture to Republicans, a mere study will be made to ensure stronger income verification in Obamacare. That little detail is so insignificant that the Times article did not even bother to mention it.
I will be the first to say I am humbled by the leadership and audacity President Obama showed throughout this crisis. For the first time in his presidency, he held strong to his principles and did not bend an inch. And, I must admit, it worked out somewhat well for him. The Republican Party is in shambles, though history reminds us it reassembles somewhat easily.
USA Today has the best roll call on the Senate vote, which was 81 (54 Democrats, 27 Republicans) in favor and 18 (Republicans) opposed. ABC News, meanwhile, has the best roll call on the House vote, which was 285 (198 Democrats and 87 Republicans) in favor and 144 (Republicans) opposed.
The leadership of both parties, in both chambers, supported the bill. Every single voting Democrat supported the measure. However, a majority of Republicans were supportive only in the Senate. Still, both Texas Senators (John Cornyn & Ted Cruz) voted against the deal. The vote from Cruz should not surprise anyone, given he was the one who orchestrated this entire michigass. However, Cornyn’s vote is not very surprising either. Astute followers of National politics will note that Cornyn has been tacking towards the right recently in an effort both to catch up with his fellow Texas Senator and ward off a possible primary challenger.
Meanwhile, in the House of Representative, Texas was one of twelve State where every Republican voted against the bill. However, when States with just one Republican representative (either Blue states or very small states) are eliminated, that number drops to just seven: Arizona, Georgia, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.
Depressing to see Texas held to the same standard as the other aforementioned States. Steve Stockman, Randy Weber and Pete Olson, all Republican Congressman with parts of the NASA area in their district, voted to continue the shutdown. The hypocrisy is astounding, considering they are often the biggest critics of the President’s policies that detriment the area.