WASHINGTON (AP) — Congress has sent President Barack Obama a modest, bipartisan budget pact designed to avert another U.S. government shutdown and ease the harshest effects of automatic budget cuts. Obama’s signature was assured on the measure, which lawmakers in both parties and at opposite ends of the Capitol said they hoped would curb budget brinkmanship and prevent more shutdowns in the near future. The final vote on the measure was 64-36 in the Senate. The House approved the bill last week.
The product of intensive year-end talks, the measure met the short-term political needs of Republicans, Democrats and the White House. As a result, there was no suspense about the outcome of the vote in the Senate — only about fallout in the 2014 elections and, more immediately, its impact on future congressional disputes over spending and the nation’s debt limit.
The measure will restore $45 billion, half the amount scheduled to be automatically cut from the 2014 operating budgets of the Pentagon and some domestic agencies, lifting them above $1 trillion. An additional $18 billion for 2015 would provide enough relief to essentially freeze spending at those levels for the year. The budget deal marks a modest accomplishment for the divided and often dysfunctional Congress.
WASHINGTON — The government shutdown is dead. Obamacare is alive.
The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, hours before the Treasury Department faced the possibility of being unable to pay all of America’s bills for the first time in modern history. The House followed suit, voting 285-144, to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.
President Barack Obama said he would reopen the government immediately to “lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease” that settled on the nation and start fixing the damage. “There is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks,” Obama said in a brief speech at the White House.
The standoff began over the summer, when tea party Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), demanded that the House of Representatives lock government funding in a chokehold unless Democrats and Obama defunded the Affordable Care
Philanthropists Laura and John Arnold have offered up to $10 million in emergency funding to the National Head Start Association in an effort to keep them open during the government shutdown. The personal donation will help keep Head Start and Early Head Start programs, who were forced to close or are facing closure, open. The programs service more than 1 million low-income children each year, providing them with meals and health care and getting them ready for elementary school.
On October 1st, 23 programs in 11 states, servicing over 19,000 children were to be funded and are expected to lose that money. “For nearly fifty years, Head Start has been the window of opportunity for more than 27 million of our nation’s poorest children as they embark on their journey to achieve the American Dream,” said Yasmina Vinci, Executive Director of the National Head Start Association. “The Arnolds’ most generous act epitomizes what it means to be an angel investor; they have selflessly stepped up for Head Start children to ensure their path toward kindergarten readiness is not interrupted by the inability of government to get the nation’s fiscal house in order.”
According to an NHSA press release, the Arnolds offered assistance after learning about the government shutdown’s paralyzing impact on Head Start programs. Following the government shutdown, if Head Start programs receive funding for a 52-week period, Head Start programs will begin to repay the funds from NHSA at no interest through the Arnolds.
Celebrities are taking to social media outlets to show their support for the new “Obamacare” law in a big way. Using the #Get Covered hashtag, they are trying to help educate the public on how they can begin to sign up for health care.
Many of the newly eligible citizens that will be signing up will in fact be getting health care insurance for the very first time so this is really cool to see. Singer John Legend tweeted:
“F the shutdown. The Health Insurance Marketplace is now open in every state. Don’t wait another day to #GetCovered!”
Pearl Jam tweeted:
“If you want to make sense of the whole healthcare thing, or just want to #GetCovered, check out http://www.healthcare.gov #KnowYourOptions,”
Some celebrities are taking photos of themselves with the #Get Covered hashtag and posting them like the ones below (actress Kerry Washington is pictured above).
Funny or Die created a “Scandal” spoof called Scandalous with Jennifer Hudson to get people information about the new ACA (Obamacare) program and how to sign up for it. Click here to see that video.)
According to Huffington Post, comedian John Hodgman and actress Martha Plimpton used their Twitter streams as Obamacare forums. Plimpton spent time retweeting messages from her followers saying what they like about the law, while Hodgman’s stream included young adults tweeting about health problems they had encountered.
“Young people: sign up for healthcare. Take it from me–YOU ARE NOT IMMORTAL,”
It’s great to know that some people embrace their platforms and try to do good things with them. Let us not forget celebrities are members of society too! They do care about the world they live in just the same as anyone else does. They do have a voice.