NPI's Cascadia Advocate

Offering commentary and analysis from Washington, Oregon, and Idaho, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's uplifting perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

President Barack Obama signs legislation to reopen government and avert default; federal employees directed to return to work

Our lat­est Repub­li­can-insti­gat­ed man­u­fac­tured fis­cal cri­sis is over. Finally.

From the White House, received moments ago:

On Thurs­day, Octo­ber 17, 2013, the Pres­i­dent signed into law:

H.R. 2775, the “Con­tin­u­ing Appro­pri­a­tions Act, 2014,” which pro­vides fis­cal year 2014 appro­pri­a­tions for projects and activ­i­ties of the Fed­er­al Gov­ern­ment through Wednes­day, Jan­u­ary 15, 2014.  The effec­tive time for the con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion begins on Octo­ber 1, 2013.  H.R. 2775 also extends the Nation’s debt lim­it through Feb­ru­ary 7, 2014.

H.R. 2775 is now the law. That means the shut­down is over and there will be no default tomor­row. We have nar­row­ly avoid­ed what could have been a major, awful, ter­ri­ble, hor­ri­ble, no-good eco­nom­ic catastrophe.

Pri­or to the bill sign­ing, Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s bud­get direc­tor, Sylvia Math­ews Bur­well, announced that fed­er­al employ­ees would be expect­ed back at work on Thurs­day morn­ing.  “Employ­ees should be check­ing the news and OPM’s web­site for fur­ther updates,” she said in a brief state­ment issued at 7:55 PM Pacif­ic Day­light Time.

The White House lat­er released the text of a mem­o­ran­dum pre­pared by Bur­well for agency lead­ers and Cab­i­net depart­ments. The mem­o­ran­dum reads as follows:

Mem­o­ran­dum for the heads of exec­u­tive depart­ments and agencies

FROM: Sylvia M. Bur­well, Director
SUBJECT: Reopen­ing Depart­ments and Agencies

This mem­o­ran­dum fol­lows the Sep­tem­ber 30th mem­o­ran­dum M‑13–24, and updates the sta­tus of appro­pri­a­tions for Fis­cal Year 2014.

Today, the Pres­i­dent signed a con­tin­u­ing res­o­lu­tion that brings employ­ees back to work and reopens many gov­ern­ment func­tions. All employ­ees who were on fur­lough due to the absence of appro­pri­a­tions may now return to work.

You should reopen offices in a prompt and order­ly manner.

We appre­ci­ate very much your coop­er­a­tion and efforts dur­ing this dif­fi­cult peri­od. Thank you and your teams for your ser­vice and your con­tin­ued work on behalf of the Amer­i­can peo­ple under the chal­leng­ing cir­cum­stances of the past few weeks.

Reopen­ing the gov­ern­ment won’t be sim­ple, easy, or cheap, but at least it will begin hap­pen­ing as of tomor­row morn­ing, and that is wel­come news for every Amer­i­can fam­i­ly and every Amer­i­can busi­ness. All of the cru­cial pub­lic ser­vices that depend on con­gres­sion­al appro­pri­a­tions will begin func­tion­ing again.

Mean­while, the Depart­ment of the Trea­sury will be able to pay our nation’s bills, at least until Feb­ru­ary, when fur­ther con­gres­sion­al action will be needed.

“We wel­come the bipar­ti­san action Con­gress is tak­ing to resolve this cri­sis, re-open the gov­ern­ment, and lift the cloud of uncer­tain­ty hang­ing over the econ­o­my,” said Sec­re­tary Jacob Lew in a state­ment released by the Depart­ment of the Trea­sury.

“Over two hun­dred and twen­ty-four years, the Unit­ed States has estab­lished our cred­it as the strongest in the world. The Unit­ed States is the anchor of the inter­na­tion­al finan­cial sys­tem and the world’s reserve cur­ren­cy. We are the world’s largest econ­o­my with the deep­est and most liq­uid finan­cial mar­kets. When risk ris­es, the flight to safe­ty and to qual­i­ty brings investors to U.S. markets.”

“Because of today’s efforts, we will con­tin­ue to hon­or all of our com­mit­ments – a core Amer­i­can val­ue – and pre­serve the full faith and cred­it of the Unit­ed States.”

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