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Shutdown averted in final hour

April 14th, 2011

The worst appeared imminent. By last Friday, a deal had not been struck as the White House and Congress struggled to figure out the budget.

For millions of Americans, the memories of the 1995 government shutdown loomed overhead in their minds.

As the day progressed however, the possibility of a shutdown was finally averted with a buzzer-beater agreement to cut roughly $38 billion from the budget was struck barely an hour before the shutdown was scheduled to begin, keeping the government up and running for the remainder of the fiscal year.

President Obama began to explain his plan for the current budget that is under review over the weekend.

The president implied that he has a strong desire to reduce the deficit in order to repair the U.S. economy.

With many of his proposals, Obama held  true to his own party’s views, such as the desire to erase the tax-cuts for wealthy Americans enacted during President Bush’s administration.

At the same time there were a few proposed cuts which echoed the rhetoric of the congressional Republicans.

For instance, Obama expressed the need for cuts in entitlement programs such as Social Security and government-based health insurance, programs usually favored by the Democratic Party.

While the threat of a shutdown has dwindled, remaining is the possibility of a default regarding the debt ceiling.

There have been several proposals from the White House and other Democrats implying that the debt ceiling must be raised.  Although many congressional Republicans have protested this, the level of dissent most likely will not be particularly strong.

The real question is which party is believed to have benefited more from the entire budget crisis.

On one side, many of the Democrats expressed their content with the way the crisis was handled.

The congressional Democrats expressed their optimism with the possibility of spending cuts in areas they feel must be trimmed.

Some of these details include increasing taxes on Americans making $200 thousand a year or higher, as well as cuts in military spending.

The survival of federal funding for Planned Parenthood was also seen as a victory for the Democrats.

As for the White House, President Obama expressed his satisfaction with the government’s ability to work together even among differing political ideologies.

“Today, Americans of different beliefs came together. We protected the investments we need to win the future,” said the president.

At the same time, many viewed the Republicans as the victors of the budget crisis.  Indeed, the Republican Party successfully managed to receive more demands than may have initially been expected.

The White House’s decision to make cuts in Social Security and health insurance were causes that were championed by the Republican congressional majority.

It should not be forgotten in the hype of the deal, though, how political differences exposed the fragility of the federal government. “It’s showed that neither side is afraid to have a really hardballed negotiation, that closing down the government is an option on other things and that neither side is afraid to take it to the edge of the cliff,” Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.) told The Washington Post.