A mountain had gone into labour and was groaning terribly. Such rumours excited great fears all over the world. In the end, however, the mountain gave birth to a mouse, the end of the US Government shutdown, but after loosing a lot of money (an estimated $20 billion) and leaving a lot of people exhausted.

Finally at the last moment, the US Senate reached an agreement and the Congress voted to reopen the government after 16 days of shutdown and raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit. President Obama signed it immediately into law, restoring government services and putting federal workers back on the job.

The agreement arrived at the last moment but with no surprise because the contrary would be a complete disaster for the US and the world economy, and  was reached with almost no changes from the initial positions of the Democrats in the biggest point of discussion: the so-called Obamacare or health law.

“Enforcement of the debt limit is suspended until Feb. 7, setting up another confrontation over the national debt sometime in March, independent analysts estimated. Meanwhile, federal agencies are funded through Jan. 15, when they might shut down again unless lawmakers resolve a continuing dispute over deep automatic spending cuts known as the sequester”, according to the Washington Post.

President Obama said he was satisfied with the agreement but added that

Hopefully, next time, it won’t be in the 11th hour.  One of the things that I said throughout this process is we’ve got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis.  And my hope and expectation is everybody has learned that there is no reason why we can’t work on the issues at hand, why we can’t disagree between the parties while still being agreeable, and make sure that we’re not inflicting harm on the American people when we do have disagreements.

The harm is already done with so big economic cost after more than two weeks of shutdown. And this because the US has not an alternative system to approve the budget when there is not an agreement like to extend automatically the last budget to avoid a shutdown until there is an agreement on the new budget like use to do some European countries. This last system has the danger to force the government to work for a long time with extended budgets for lack of agreements having because of that and its hands tied when is time to develop its program.

The US Media and the polls published by them consider the republicans and above all John Boehner, the majority leader in the Congress as the losers in this dispute that has paralysed the US government for 16 days and cost billions of dollars to change almost nothing.

About Olga Brajnović

Journalist. In my fifties. I've worked for 26 years in a newspaper in Spain. I worked for two years as a stringer and correspondent in the US, and went as a special envoy to other places like the Balkans. Sea lover. Avid reader. Classic Music enthusiast.

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Americas, World and Politics

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