Government shutdown 2011 avoided with 11th-hour budget deal
Approaching a midnight deadline Friday night, House, Senate, and Obama administration came to agreement on a budget, avoiding a government shutdown. But tough political fights remain.
At literally the 11th hour Friday night, House, Senate, and Obama administration avoided a government shutdown and came to agreement on a budget for the rest of the fiscal year that nobody loves but that all were willing to live with.Skip to next paragraph
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It doesn’t solve the nation’s debt and deficit problems, and it certainly doesn’t settle the non-spending policy issues that had bedeviled the process of getting to yes – abortion is only the most obvious.
Politically, it’s the first major illustration of tea party-fueled conservatism behind resurgent Republicans who took back the US House of Representatives in last fall’s elections. And as such, it sharply hints at the difficulty all factions face in trying to craft a budget for FY 2012 – which begins just a few months hence – within both major parties as well as between them.
Among the details:
Discretionary spending for the rest of FY 2011 is nearly $39 billion less than had been budgeted for the previous year and $79 billion less than Obama had wanted for 2011.
Controversial “riders” eliminating federal funds for Planned Parenthood and for EPA regulation of greenhouse gases linked to global climate change were set aside. Riders that did make it through prevent the use of federal or local funds to pay for abortion services in the District of Columbia; another rider lets District of Columbia students use federally funded vouchers to attend private schools.
Another stopgap measure
Because there was so little time left to avoid a government shutdown as the clock ticked past 11 p.m toward a midnight deadline, lawmakers also agreed to a stopgap measure covering the next several days until the spending measure for the rest of this fiscal year can be finished and signed into law.
Avoiding a government shutdown had become paramount for all but a few lawmakers willing to force the issue. Some 800,000 federal workers would have been furloughed. National parks would have closed. Many Americans might have seen a delay in receiving their income tax refunds. Government contractors wouldn’t have been paid.