Sunday, 10 April 2011

US government unshutdown

Some last minute rat swallowing has meant the US government will remain operational.

I must say, I think the idea of parliament shutting down the whole government in a fit of pique strikes me as a fine constitutional absurdity, and one that should be imported to all democracies.

Anyway, it is all sorted out:
Boehner, an hour before midnight, told journalists in Congress: "I am pleased that Senator Reid and the White House have come to an agreement that will cut spending and keep government open."

It would have been the first federal government shutdown since 1995-96 when there was a stand-off between the Republicans and the Clinton White House.

Barack Obama tore up his schedule for Friday, including the start of a family weekend break in Virginia, to concentrate on negotiations with Republicans. He had hoped to reach a compromise Friday morning but discussions dragged out throughout the day.

Obama portrayed the compromise as a tribute to US democracy as he said: "Tomorrow ... the entire federal government will be open for business." (1)
Sounds like the Republicans got the slightly better deal in the sort term - a bigger chunk of spending exchange for preserving the Planned Parenthood funding. But in the longer term, Obama gets to look like the pragmatic compromiser, not the SOCIALIST DEMON the Tea Party need him to be.

Clinto faced a similar crisis, and brazened it out. But the situation now is very different. Obama's actually delivered some sort of SOCIALIST HEALTHCARE, complete with DEATH PANELS. Where as Clinton had already folded on that by the time the republicans shut him down. They couldn't brand him FERVENT PINKO SCUM because he'd manifestly demonstrated his spinelessness.

Obama will probably profit from the last minute resolution of the crisis, as the extremist labels become harder to apply. If he can make deals with the saner Republicans, the Tea Whackjobs will begin to look more isolated and mad.
1 - "US government shutdown averted by late night deal in Congress," by Ewen MacAskill. Published in the Guardian, 9th of April, 2011. (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/apr/09/government-shutdown-obama-boehner-deal)

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