WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Democrats have emerged as the winners after a dog-eat-dog fight in the U.S. Congress over whether to raise the country's debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, U.S. experts said Thursday.
Thursday marked a crucial deadline -- the last day the federal government was certain to have enough money to pay its bills, and economists had forecast that Congress's failure to raise the debt ceiling would cause all economic hell to break loose.
At issue was President Barack Obama's signature health care overhaul, as Republicans wanted to repeal parts of the controversial legislation in exchange for ending the government shutdown and lifting the debt ceiling.
The two sides cut an 11th-hour deal late Wednesday that raised the nation's borrowing authority until February and ended the partial government shutdown, allocating back pay to furloughed government workers.
TEA PARTY LOSES BIG
While both sides dug in their heels during the battle -- critics billed Obama as obstinate in his determination not to budge an inch on Obamacare -- the Republican Party (GOP) will shoulder the brunt of the blame for coming so close to a U.S. debt default.
"The Tea Party was a real loser because it pushed the government to the brink of default in a way that was irresponsible, " Brookings Institutions' senior fellow Darrell West told Xinhua. "It has lost a lot of credibility."
"Obama and congressional Democrats are winners because they demonstrated a strong sense of responsibility," West said.
David Lewis, a professor at Frostburg University in the U.S. state of Maryland, told Xinhua the Tea Party lost big because they did not get a single meaningful policy concession and in the process damaged the GOP brand.
House Speaker John Boehner was another loser, as the perception that he could not control the Tea Party will put him in a position of weakness in future negotiations with the White House, analysts said.
The House approved the debt ceiling extension and reopening the government late Wednesday on a 285-144 vote, with all Democrats and some Republicans voting yes and all 144 no votes cast by Republicans.
Some analysts argued that GOP lawmakers who voted not to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the government waited until there was enough support to pass the bill -- no one wanted to default -- before voting against it.
"They are sending the message to their constituents that they are going to hold the line (against Obamacare)," Republican strategist Ford O'Connell told Xinhua, referring to some Republicans' strategy for conservative voters who oppose the president's health care reforms.
"They're not worried about getting beaten by a Democrat, they are worried about being unseated by a fellow Republican," he said, adding that there is only a set number of House seats that could be won by either party in the 2014 mid-term elections.
U.S. STILL IN MASSIVE DEBT
While the crisis is over for now, there is still the matter of ballooning U.S. debt, and the debt ceiling fight is expected to see the second round in February.
Republicans have often billed the Obama administration's spending as excessive and a train wreck waiting to happen.
While supporters tout Obamacare as providing insurance to millions of previously uninsured Americans, opponents argue the act is unaffordable at a time when the United States is mired in 17 trillion U.S. dollars of debt -- roughly equivalent to U.S. gross domestic product -- with no major spending cuts on the horizon.
While Republicans have voiced concern over U.S. spending, neither side wants to tackle entitlements such as Medicare, Medicaid and social security -- three of the main drivers of the debt, analysts said.
BEIJING, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- Long-term remedy to cure the stubborn and chronic U.S. fiscal illness remains absent despite a last-minute yet still temporary bill that finally cleared the U.S. Congress late Wednesday.
That means politicians in Washington have done nothing substantial but postponing once again the final bankruptcy of global confidence in the U.S. financial system and the intactness of dollar investment, which has already been seriously shattered by the undying partisan struggle and the country's attested inability to fix its fiscal problems once and for all. Full story
WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 (Xinhua) -- The U.S. government will end its partial shutdown after President Barack Obama signed a last-minute deal early Thursday to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling.
Obama signed the bill into law without further comment after both the House and Senate approved it late Wednesday. Full story
WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (Xinhua) -- U.S. House of Representatives Wednesday night approved a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the federal government, clearing final hurdle of the legislation in the Congress.
The House voted 285-144 in favor of the bill, which funds the government through Jan. 15 and raises the debt ceiling until Feb.7. The Senate overwhelmingly approved the deal earlier Wednesday night. Full story
WASHINGTON, Oct. 16 (Xinhua)-- U.S. Congress has been racing against time to strike a bipartisan deal to raise debt limit and reopen the government by the deadline of Thursday.
The debt limit is the total amount of money that the United States government is authorized to borrow to meet its existing legal obligations, including Social Security and Medicare benefits, military paychecks, interest on the national debt, tax refunds, and other payments. Failing to increase the debt limit would cause the government to default on its legal obligations.Full story