Will Congress Kick the Can Down the Road?
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Will Congress Kick the Can Down the Road?

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Both houses of Congress appear to be on the road to reopening the government and raising the debt limit before midnight tonight. But the deals will last for only a few weeks. When new deadlines arise, will the US and the rest of the world be faced with the risks of default and dysfunction all over again?

Banner image: U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) (C) and House Majority Whip Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) (R) arrive for a Republican caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, October 15, 2013. A month of combat in the U.S. Congress over government spending showed signs of giving way to a Senate deal to reopen shuttered federal agencies and prevent an economically damaging default on federal debt. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst 

Making News

Speaker Boehner Concedes Defeat ()

At noon, Washington time, Senate leaders announced an agreement to reopen the government and raise the debt limit by midnight tonight. There was uncertainty about whether House Republicans would go along, until after they caucused and conceded defeat.

Jonathan Strong is a political reporter at the National Review.

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Main Topic

Is Congress Stepping Away from the Brink? ()

The government will be reopened and the debt limit raised if Senate leaders get their way, and if Speaker Boehner allows a vote in the House. But the deal would last only until early next year. Between now and then, Congress would hold the budget hearings it should have conducted this Spring. Can disagreements about spending, taxes and Medicare be resolved in such a short time? What about the ongoing dispute over Obamacare? 

This may be the moment to take a deep breath, but long-term relief could be a long time coming. After Senate leaders announced their agreement today, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said President Obama hopes both houses will pass it.

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Today's Talking Point

Disgust with Congress Through the Years ()

The approval ratings of Congress are at historic lows, according to the modern measurements of public opinion polling. But what about the days of spitting, punching and even dueling with pistols on the floors of the House and the Senate?

Jonathan Zimmerman is a professor of History and Education at New York University. He's also the author of Small Wonder: The Little Red Schoolhouse in History and Memory.

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