NPI's Cascadia Advocate

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

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

U.S. Senate votes overwhelmingly to reopen federal government and pay America’s bills

At long last, we final­ly have some decent news out of the Oth­er Wash­ing­ton.

By a vote of eighty-one to eigh­teen, the Unit­ed States Sen­ate has vot­ed to approve leg­is­la­tion that reopens the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment through mid-Jan­u­ary and allows the U.S. Depart­ment of the Trea­sury to pay Amer­i­ca’s bills through mid-Feb­ru­ary. More than half of the Sen­ate Repub­li­can cau­cus joined with every sin­gle one of the Sen­ate’s Democ­rats and the cham­ber’s two inde­pen­dents to pass the bill.

“I want to thank the lead­ers of both par­ties for get­ting us to this point,” said Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma in an appear­ance at the White House fol­low­ing the vote, refer­ring to Sen­a­tors Har­ry Reid of Neva­da and Mitch McConnell of Ken­tucky.

“Once this agree­ment arrives on my desk, I will sign it imme­di­ate­ly. We’ll begin reopen­ing our gov­ern­ment imme­di­ate­ly, and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncer­tain­ty and unease from our busi­ness­es and from the Amer­i­can peo­ple.”

“I’ll have more to say about this tomor­row. And I’ve got some thoughts about how we can move for­ward in the remain­der of the year and stay focused on the job at hand, because there is a lot of work ahead of us, includ­ing our need to earn back the trust of the Amer­i­can peo­ple that has been lost over the last few weeks. And we can begin to do that by address­ing the real issues that they care about.”

The Pacif­ic North­west roll call on H.R. 2275, as amend­ed, was as fol­lows:

Vot­ing Aye: Democ­rats Maria Cantwell and Pat­ty Mur­ray (WA); Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley (OR); Mark Begich (AK); Jon Tester and Max Bau­cus (MT); Repub­li­can Lisa Murkows­ki (AK)

Vot­ing Nay: Repub­li­cans Jim Risch and Mike Crapo (ID)

Jeers to the Ida­ho del­e­ga­tion for being among the eigh­teen intran­si­gent Repub­li­cans who vot­ed no. Even Mitch McConnell and John Thune vot­ed to avert a default. But Jim Risch and Mike Crapo? Nah, they’re not inter­est­ed in pre­vent­ing an eco­nom­ic calami­ty from befalling this coun­try and the world com­mu­ni­ty.

Wash­ing­ton’s own Pat­ty Mur­ray, the fourth high­est rank­ing mem­ber of the Sen­ate Demo­c­ra­t­ic cau­cus and the chair­woman of the Com­mit­tee on the Bud­get, issued a lengthy state­ment fol­low­ing the Sen­ate vote. She said:

Tonight I share with every Wash­ing­ton State fam­i­ly a deep sense of relief that this embar­rass­ing episode is near­ing an end.

These past few weeks have seen the dys­func­tion in Wash­ing­ton D.C. seep its way into the lives and liveli­hoods of fam­i­lies in ways that are com­plete­ly unac­cept­able and that were entire­ly pre­ventable.

Fam­i­lies across our state have every right to be angry with the fact they’ve been made vic­tims by an unnec­es­sary cri­sis that they didn’t cre­ate and had no con­trol over.

I hope that if any les­son comes of these last few weeks it’s that the Amer­i­can peo­ple will not tol­er­ate being held hostage and that the con­stant cycle of gov­ern­ing by cri­sis must come to an end.

Thank­ful­ly, as part of the agree­ment to end this cri­sis, Repub­li­cans have now final­ly agreed to the bud­get con­fer­ence com­mit­tee that I have been ask­ing for over the last six months. I am look­ing for­ward to the big chal­lenge that bridg­ing the sig­nif­i­cant dif­fer­ences between the House and Sen­ate bud­gets presents, I am absolute­ly com­mit­ted to find­ing com­mon ground, and I hope Repub­li­cans are too.

I first ran for the Sen­ate because I saw a Con­gress that was dis­con­nect­ed from the lives of my neigh­bors and friends.

I believed then — as I con­tin­ue to do now — that bring­ing the strug­gles, suc­cess­es, and hopes of reg­u­lar Wash­ing­ton state fam­i­lies to the debates in Wash­ing­ton D.C. helps cre­ate a gov­ern­ment that is more respon­sive to their needs.

Today we find our­selves at a sim­i­lar cross­roads, where so many Amer­i­cans right­ly feel like their voic­es aren’t being heard. Too often reg­u­lar Amer­i­cans’ calls for bipar­ti­san­ship and progress are being hijacked by who­ev­er yells the loud­est or caus­es the biggest com­mo­tion. Despite all that we have in com­mon, our pol­i­tics con­tin­ues to be more and more defined by what sets us apart.

My hope is that in the weeks and months ahead we can heal many of the par­ti­san divides that keep us from address­ing the big chal­lenges we face, includ­ing return­ing our focus to cre­at­ing jobs and improv­ing our econ­o­my. But most impor­tant­ly, I hope that we heed the call of every Amer­i­can to do every­thing we can to ensure we nev­er repeat the dam­ag­ing crises we are on the verge of emerg­ing from.

We expect a state­ment from Sen­a­tor Maria Cantwell soon and will update this post when we get it. We are also hop­ing to get reac­tion from Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley of Ore­gon. Most sen­a­tors have fur­loughed their staffs, so they are not oper­at­ing nor­mal­ly due to the shut­down.

H.R. 2275 (as amend­ed) now moves to the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives. John Boehn­er and his deputies have sig­naled they will put the bill on a fast track to pas­sage so that it can get to Pres­i­dent Oba­ma’s desk quick­ly. It’s not clear how many Repub­li­can votes Boehn­er will be able to deliv­er, but it’s expect­ed that Democ­rats will pro­vide the over­whelm­ing major­i­ty of votes to reopen the gov­ern­ment and allow Trea­sury to pay the nation’s bills.

Adjacent posts

  • Sustain the Cascadia Advocate by joining us on April 17th!

    Join us online on April 17th for our 2020 Spring Gala!
  • Can’t attend the gala? Make a donation!


    Thank you for read­ing The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate, the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute’s jour­nal of world, nation­al, and local pol­i­tics.

    Found­ed in March of 2004, The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate has been help­ing peo­ple through­out the Pacif­ic North­west and beyond make sense of cur­rent events with rig­or­ous analy­sis and thought-pro­vok­ing com­men­tary for more than fif­teen years. The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate is fund­ed by read­ers like you: we have nev­er accept­ed adver­tis­ing or place­ments of paid con­tent.

    And we’d like it to stay that way.

    Help us keep The Cas­ca­dia Advo­cate edi­to­ri­al­ly inde­pen­dent and freely avail­able by becom­ing a mem­ber of the North­west Pro­gres­sive Insti­tute today. Or make a dona­tion to sus­tain our essen­tial research and advo­ca­cy jour­nal­ism.

    Your con­tri­bu­tion will allow us to con­tin­ue bring­ing you fea­tures like Last Week In Con­gress, live cov­er­age of events like Net­roots Nation or the Demo­c­ra­t­ic Nation­al Con­ven­tion, and reviews of books and doc­u­men­tary films.

    Become an NPI mem­ber Make a one-time dona­tion