SDSU reacts to long-awaited Congressional deal

by Adam Burkhart

The end to a political battle that saw the federal government partially closed down for 16 days and an estimated 800,000 federal employees furloughed came late Wednesday.

The standoff came to a climax when the government was forced to raise its borrowing limit or face a financial default for the first time in history.

The Senate passed a bill in an 81-18 vote introduced by senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to re-fund government operations and raise the limit on how much debt the federal government is allowed to take on.

The House was next to approve the bill before it went to the president’s desk.

The bill was welcomed by leaders in the House of Representatives and Senate who vowed not to block its passage, marking defeat in a hard-fought battle waged by Republicans who were using the shutdown in an attempt to forestall implementation of the new healthcare law, according to media reports.

With an agreement reached the government has narrowly averted disaster, sort of.

Dan Seiver, a lecturer in the San Diego State Department of Finance, said that “fiscal shenanigans” will end up costing the government more in interest on its foreign debt.

The United States’ credit with rating agencies Moodys and Fitch Ratings is also in peril, Seiver said.

Seiver blamed what he said was the contradiction in allowing the government to borrow and then decide whether or not it will pay its debt as the source of the nation’s fiscal woes.

In Seiver’s estimation, that system engenders the kind of standoff that the government has been fighting for the past 16 days.

“It’s an artificial construct of our own that’s used by one side or the other as political blackmail,” Seiver said. “If we don’t want any more debt then our representatives can figure out how much they want to tax us and it’s going to have to be equal to what we are going to spend.”

Nevertheless, the deal in Washington comes as good news to the SDSU Veterans Center.

“One word to sum it up would be relief,” Veterans Coordinator for the veterans center Todd Kennedy said.

Student veterans have been anxiously awaiting a government deal that would reopen the government and ensure their GI Bill stipends continue come November, Kennedy said.

The U.S Department of Veterans Affairs was prepared to administer the GI Bill through October, but was dependent on the government reopening to continue services beyond the end of the month.

Natacia Cordle, a VA employee and counsellor to veterans on campus, has been furloughed during the shutdown. Kennedy said she could return to campus and beginning serving veterans again in the next few days, depending on how long the government takes to get started up.