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Shutdown over: What you need to know

Contributor: Keith St. Peter

Contributor: Monica Earle
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Updated: 10/17/2013 3:42 pm

WASHINGTON -- Congress has passed legislation to reopen the partially-shuttered federal government and avert a potential default on U.S. obligations. President Barack Obama signed it into law shortly after midnight.

Key Points of the Bill:

  • Ends Shutdown

  • Raises Debt Ceiling

  • Includes provision requiring people receiving Obamacare subsidies to show proof of income.

Passage of the bill late Wednesday in the House and Senate ended a 16-day stalemate that closed much of federal government. It came on the eve of the date the Treasury Department warned it would no longer be able to borrow to pay the government's bills.

The legislation passed in the House by strong support from Democrats.  Majority Republicans had 87 yes votes.

The legislation will reopen the government through Jan. 15 and permit Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7.

Information for furloughed workers

WASHINGTON -- If you are one of the tens of thousands of furloughed government workers, it's on you to find out when to go back to work.

A statement from Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget reads, "Now that the bill has passed the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, the President plans to sign it tonight and employees should expect to return to work in the morning. Employees should be checking the news and OPM's website for further updates."

The government's only guideline is that workers affected by the partial shutdown should be attuned to when the president signs legislation to reopen the government. They will be expected to be back on the job on their next scheduled work day.

The Office of Personnel Management says most furloughed employees don't have government-issued smart phones to receive text messages or alerts. The government says it won't place calls to workers' home phones, either.

The personnel office says notification through its website and the media will be sufficient.

Local leaders: How they voted

Florida Senators

Senator Bill Nelson (D) - Voted Yes
“Thank goodness, not just for the thousands and thousands of Americans who have been hurting because of the disruption in government services, but thank goodness for our nation’s economic well-being."

“I’m relieved about this shutdown being over and certainly relieved that we have avoided a default of the financial integrity of this country, but this never should have happened in the first place. A couple of senators and a handful of House extremists have managed to embarrass America in front of the world."

“And with this government shutdown and coming right to the precipice on a default, they showed a lack of compassion but they also showed a lack of understanding about what it means to be a public official and what it means to represent and serve the interests of all, not just a few."

“A public office is a public trust. And no public servant should ever deny government services to people in need. No public servant should ever take his own country hostage to advance his own narrow, selfish ideology."

“So for now, we can breathe a sigh of relief. But this is going to crank up again, starting in December, January and February – the deadlines of this agreement. We just can’t keep continuing putting our country in situations like this. We’ve got to find a way, right soon, to govern ourselves without being at the mercy of a few partisan extremists. Congress has a responsibility to cast aside extremism and reach out to find common ground, reason and common sense. We owe no less to our people in this country."

- Sen. Bill Nelson (D) Florida

Senator Marco Rubio (R) - Voted No
“This debate has never been about whether to have an open federal government, but about whether we are going to fix it so that it stops spending more money than it takes in. To save the American Dream, we need decisive action to create millions of middle class jobs and stop Washington politicians from wasting taxpayers’ money on a government we can’t afford."

“I cannot support this deal because it postpones any significant action on pro-growth and spending reforms and does nothing to provide working class Americans even one shred of relief from ObamaCare’s harmful effects."

“Until we tackle the real threats to the American Dream, we are going to continue finding ourselves in these kinds of messes. America is better than this, and the American people deserve better.”

- Sen. Marco Rubio (R) Florida

Georgia Senators

Senator Saxby Chambliss (R) - Voted Yes
“I applaud Speaker Boehner, Leader Reid and Leader McConnell for their work to reopen the government and prevent a default on our nation’s obligations. While this is certainly not the deal Republicans hoped for, it is the best deal we could negotiate under the circumstances. "

“I agree with my fellow Republicans and the American people that Obamacare is a deeply flawed and damaging law. I remain as committed as ever to dismantling Obamacare before it has a chance to further damage our economy."

“However, defunding Obamacare in the CR was never a realistic goal. Republicans control only one-half of one-third of the federal government, and the president has the power to veto. Shutting down the government only placed undue stress on Americans and on the economy, and lost Republican’s advantage to negotiate on the debt ceiling. "

“Our fiscal crisis is the most important challenge we face. While I don’t believe Congress should allow a potentially catastrophic default by the federal government, I do believe that any increase in the debt ceiling should have come with policy reforms and assurances that future spending and deficits are being addressed in a meaningful way. If Republicans had chosen to use the debt ceiling as an opportunity to force action on our debt and deficit, we could have won more spending cuts and significant reforms to entitlements. Instead, we took no concrete steps toward reducing America’s public debt, and simply preserved the spending cuts we won in 2011. "

“For our nation to be strong, for our country to prosper, we cannot continue to play politics with the American economy. We will have another opportunity to address the debt ceiling in the coming months, and I hope my colleagues across-the-aisle and across-the-capitol will stop the partisan posturing and begin working together to retire our nearly $17 trillion debt.”

- Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) Georgia

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) Georgia - Voted Yes
“These past few weeks should be a wake-up call. It’s time that Congress gets back to doing our job of budgeting, appropriating, and conducting oversight to address our unsustainable debt and deficits. That’s why I have introduced a bipartisan bill, the Biennial Budgeting and Appropriations Act, with Sen. Shaheen that would reform our nation’s broken budget process and restore fiscal discipline."

“Today’s bipartisan agreement reopens the federal government through January 15 and sets up budget negotiations between the House and Senate for a long-term spending plan. I’m pleased that the bill averts a default while preserving and protecting the historic government spending cuts from the Budget Control Act of 2011 that have resulted in the largest spending cuts in 50 years. I am also very pleased that this bill will help prevent fraud and abuse by strengthening income verification measures to determine who will be eligible for subsidies under Obamacare.”

- Sen. Johnny Isakson (R) Georgia

Florida Representatives

Rep. Corrine Brown (D) Florida - Voted Yes

“I thank God for the United States Senate!  Finally, the Republican Party leadership has realized that shutting down the government and dragging the nation to the brink of an economic abyss is not a sensible way to govern in a democratic country. 

The shutdown and the crisis atmosphere it created kept Congress from doing the work it should have been doing all along. Our nation faces serious challenges – the wealth gap continues to grow, the middle class is disappearing, the poverty rate remains extremely high, and our infrastructure is crumbling.  So while Republicans in the House debated whether or not we should pay our nation’s bills or implement the Affordable Care Act (which was already passed into law three years ago and upheld by the Supreme Court) many critical issues continue to go unaddressed.  

Yet at least we have reached a brief moment of agreement, and I look forward to working with the Budget Committee in the coming weeks to ensure that our budget is properly funded, and in particular, to ensure items like SNAP, Medicare, Social Security, and Meals on Wheels for our Seniors receive proper funding.  In addition, this bill’s passage allows for the government to reopen and permits hundreds of thousands of federal employees and government contractors to return to work.  It also allows the Treasury Department to continue to borrow money to pay the government’s bills, which sends a message to the world that we will not default on our obligations. Now, Congress must return to work – create jobs and augment economic growth, protect working families, finish a Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) bill, and take up an immigration bill, among many, many other important issues.”

Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R) Florida - Voted Yes
“The last few weeks have been long and challenging for the country, and today I supported an agreement to re-open the government, prevent default on our national debt, and preserve the savings that I fought to enact into law."

“The agreement that passed the House this evening suspends the debt limit through February 7, 2014 and re-opens government through January 15, 2014 at current spending levels, not the higher levels the Senate had hoped for."

“The underlying structural problems that surround Washington’s reckless spending patterns are also addressed in this legislation by requiring the House and Senate to work together to develop a Budget Agreement by December 13th."

“I have heard from many of my constituents throughout this debate, and the focus of discussion has been rightly centered on Obamacare. This law is stifling our economy, killing jobs, driving up premiums, and forcing people off the health care plans they have and like. I still maintain that the Affordable Care Act is bad for this country, it is a flawed law, and its disastrous rollout is a sign of even worse things to come."

“However, today’s debate needs to be rightly focused on reopening the government, avoiding default, and protecting the historic spending cuts we achieved over the last few years.”

- Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R) Florida

Rep. Ron Desantis (R) Florida - Voted No
Awaiting statement.

Rep. John Mica (R) Florida - Voted No
Awaiting statement.

Rep. Ted Yoho (R) Florida - Voted No
Awaiting statement.

Georgia Representatives

Rep. Jack Kingston (R) Georgia - Voted No
“The drama of the government shutdown and the debt limit debate has served as a distraction from the real debate here.  Our national debt is larger than the size of the entire American economy and government borrows forty-two cents for every dollar it spends.  I opposed this proposal because it does nothing to check the growth of government or put our country on a more sustainable path.

“While I could not support this package, I remain committed to working with Democrats and Republicans alike to advance reforms that will free future generations from a life indebted to China.  We must come together to ensure the next three months are used productively so we are not in this position again.”

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Action News Jacksonville

nativejax - 10/17/2013 10:07 AM
1 Vote
What did WE get? This is just a 'shut down of a shut down"... "tighter income verifications for people getting federal subsidies for insurance"..thats what WE AMERICANS who pay for the welfare BUMS get out of this shut down? Lying about your income is EASY ask the IRS. Generations of fatherless kids who are raised their ENTIRE life on our free tax dollars should be very happy...but even when they are grown, they will still scream WE OWE THEM. Get your Islamic asses out of my White House, President Berry Birther.

drw72 - 10/17/2013 8:15 AM
2 Votes
So Rep. Corrine Brown (D) Florida - Voted Yes and Rep. Ander Crenshaw (R) Florida - Voted Yes. While Corrine Brown's vote does not surprise me, she is an uneducated idiot that can't even speak english, I am sad to see Crenshaw's vote. I hope both of these traitors to the American people get ousted in the 2014 elections.
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