Home Politics Ohio Reps vote on bill to reopen federal government

Ohio Reps vote on bill to reopen federal government

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Last night at approximately 10:15 pm, the result of a vote in the House of Representatives was announced.

The national government had been shut down for over two weeks. Thousands of government employees were furloughed, national parks and monuments were fenced off, and in Washington, neither Democrats nor Republicans were very willing to reach across the aisle.

If Congress had failed to pass the budget by the end of the day Wednesday, the Treasury would have run out of money, which would lead to a devastating downgrade of the United States’ credit rating and cause the stock market to plummet. 

Any further effects of the shutdown will remain in speculation, because less than two hours before the deadline, the House voted 285-144 to pass the budget compromise, which President Obama promptly signed.

The battle had been waging since September, pitting Democrats and moderate Republicans against several Tea Party Republicans, led by freshman senator Ted Cruz. Cruz and his allies saw the budget as a chance to battle the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, believing that it will lead to worse care for patients and higher debt for the nation.

Many members of the Republican-controlled House were eager to see the bill done away with as well: they had voted 46 times to repeal the Act, with each attempt being blocked by the Democrat-controlled Senate. 

At first, some Republicans refused to pass any budget unless the Affordable Care Act was defunded. When it quickly became apparent that the Act would not be appealed, Cruz and his fellow Republicans said they would pass a budget if the implementation of the Act was delayed. Again, Democrats and the president were adamant that there would be no delays to the Affordable Care Act, arguing that it was upheld by the Supreme Court and that Obama’s reelection in 2012 was proof that the nation approved of his signature legislation.

Several attempts were made during the shutdown to open certain parts of the government, such as national parks and war monuments, but Democrats blocked any attempts at limited re-openings, demanding that the entire government must be reopened instead of any half-measures. 

As the deadline closed in, Cruz, who had lead the charge against the Affordable Care Act, held a press conference saying that he would no longer attempt to block any budget compromises, but promised to continue fighting against the Act. This opened up the Senate to pass a compromise to finance the government until January 15 and extend the debt ceiling limit through February 7. The bill passed 81-18 on Wednesday evening, and passed through the House shortly thereafter. 

Both Ohio Senators—Democrat Sherrod Brown and Republican Rob Portman—voted in favor of the compromise. The vote was not as unanimous for Ohio Representatives in the House. Every Democrat from Ohio voted in favor of the compromise, and they were joined by Republican Reps. Dave Joyce, Steve Stivers, Pat Tiberi, as well as House Speaker John Boehner.

Eight representatives (half of all Ohio’s representatives), all Republican, voted against the compromise. Among the eight was Athens’ representative, Bill Johnson.

“I cannot support this latest resolution because it does not treat the American people fairly.  It fails to offer those in Eastern and Southeastern Ohio any protection from the abuses, expenses, and overreach of Obamacare,” Johnson said in a statement released by his website Thursday. “I’m also deeply troubled that this legislation increases America’s debt limit, but does nothing to address the main driver of the debt—Washington’s out of control spending … the legislation passed this evening solves nothing, it is neither fair nor permanent.”

Though the threat of default has passed for now, the battle over the budget will come back to haunt the national government for months and possibly years to come.

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