The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

National and world

October 17, 2013

Gov't open again, Obama bemoans senseless damage

(Continued)

WASHINGTON —

Congress agreed to pay federal workers for the missed time. No such luck for contractors and all sorts of other workers whose livelihoods were disrupted.

"More business. More money," cab driver Osman Naimyar said happily, noting the growing crowds of commuters on Washington streets. He lost about a fifth of his normal fares, he said, while federal workers stayed home and tourists disappeared from the National Mall.

Standard & Poor's estimated the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy, and the Fitch credit rating agency warned Tuesday that it was reviewing its AAA rating on U.S. government debt for a possible downgrade.

Obama and his Democratic allies on Capitol Hill were the decisive victors in the fight, which was sparked by tea party Republicans including Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. They prevailed upon skeptical GOP leaders to use a normally routine short-term funding bill in an attempt to "defund" the 2010 health care law known as "Obamacare."

"We fought the good fight. We just didn't win," House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, conceded. He was given positive reviews from Republicans for his handling of the crisis, though it again exposed the tenuous grasp he holds over the fractious House GOP conference.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said the American people disapproved of how Republicans, and also Democrats and the president, handled the budget gridlock.

"Hopefully, the lesson is to stop this foolish childishness," McCain said Thursday on CNN.

The shutdown sent approval of the GOP plummeting in opinion polls and exasperated veteran lawmakers who saw it as folly.

"It's time to restore some sanity to this place," House Appropriations Committee Chairman Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said before the vote.

The agreement was brokered by the Senate's top Democrat, Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, and its Republican leader, Mitch McConnell of Kentucky. They stepped in after the House was unable to coalesce around a Republican-only approach.

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