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Government Reboot

Logo for the White House. (Wikimedia Commons)
Logo for the White House. (Wikimedia Commons)

On Oct. 17, after 16 days of being on furlough, federal government employees returned to work, although a more permanent deal must still be reached between Democrats and Republicans concerning federal funding and the national budget.

Congress reached a deal late on Oct. 16, just one day before a vote had to be made to raise the debt ceiling. With the agreement, the government officially reopened after a suspension of many federal services. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell came to an agreement regarding the national debt limit and when funding for agencies, such as national parks and the Departments of Justice, Interior, Commerce, and Energy would officially resume.

According to the Washington Post, the agreement reached by Reid and McConnell mandates that agencies will be funded temporarily until Jan. 15 of the 2014 fiscal year, and the national debt limit has been extended until Feb. 14 with an amount of $16.7 trillion. This deal was ratified by the Senate with a vote of 81-18. When it went to the House of Representatives after being approved by the Senate, it was ratified with a vote of 285-144. Republicans were ready to work together with their Democrat counterparts and give President Obama his desired increase of the Treasury Department’s borrowing power and government funding in order to put his proposed legislation into effect.

On the morning of the government reopening, President Obama expressed his feelings in a speech.

“There are no winners here. These last few weeks have inflicted completely unnecessary damage on our economy,” President Obama said.

Time Magazine outlined the effects the shutdown had on the United States economy.  The total cost of the shutdown was $24 billion, with specific losses coming from travel costs, lost revenue from the closure of National Parks, and federal and contractor wages. Additionally, the gross domestic product (GDP), the figure that determines the amount the economy has grown, was reduced from 3 percent to 2.4 percent.

Obama also addressed how the shutdown will affect the future of the economy.  He said it slowed the growth of the economy, made hiring harder, and increased the federal deficit, which had been getting smaller. He also stated that the country will come back from the economic hardships it has been through, but that it will be a long process.

“There was no economic rationale for all this,” President Obama said of these economic repercussions.

Many Americans worry that there may be a second shutdown if Congress cannot come to another deal by the scheduled date of Jan. 15. If they are unable to reach a more permanent decision and budget, the country could be looking at more severe economic turmoil.