October 17, 2013

Welcome Back, Federal Government!

By Brianna C. Fields

The metro was packed this morning, traffic was slow, and DC was once again busy with activity – all welcome signs that the Federal Government is open as a couple hundred thousand federal employees made their way into work for the first time since September 30th.

The Senate released a last minute deal yesterday afternoon and subsequently voted 81-18 in favor of passing the legislation. The House pulled through with a late-night vote of 285-144 and sent the bill to the President’s desk for signature shortly after midnight last night.

The key parameters of the deal are:

  • Extends spending through January 15th at current levels
  • Raises the debt ceiling enough to fund the government through February 7th
  • Healthcare subsidies for Members and Staff
  • Furloughed workers will get back pay
  • Established a budget conference committee that must report out a spending plan to both chambers by December 13th

Also included in the bill are: $2.2 billion in appropriations for a Kentucky River project, $450 million in flood recovery funds for Colorado, a death benefit payment to the widow of late Senator Frank Lautenberg, a bump in funding for a handful of government agencies, and a provision stating that there will be no cost of living adjustment for members of Congress next year.

Of course, this is all just a short-term fix, and we could easily find ourselves facing a shutdown and threat of default again in January.

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