Here they are, the stipulations of the legislation that will reopen the government after 16 days of back-and-forth efforts that went nowhere, Republican infighting, hyperbole, and alcohol.
Here’s what we know Republican and Democratic senators have agreed to:
- Reopen the government, and fund it through Jan. 15.
- Push back the debt ceiling until Feb. 7.
- Convene a conference committee (led by Senate Budge Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.) to shape a longer-term budget (does this sound familiar?) that would address whether sequester-level spending cuts will be here to stay.
- In a small concession — and the only change to the health care law — Democrats agreed to a measure to ensure those who receive subsidies to buy health care meet eligibility requirements. White House spokesperson Jay Carney assures that this does not amount to “ransom” and maintains the president’s line that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling.
- Give back pay to federal workers furloughed during the shutdown.
So how have things changed in the past 16 days?
- The government has wasted millions of dollars paying its workers for not working.
- S&P estimates that the shutdown decreased GDP growth by .6 percent, amounting to $24-billion bite out of the economy.
- It will now be slightly more difficult to scam the government for health care subsidies.
- A major credit-evaluation agency has threatened to downgrade the U.S. credit rating.
- The GOP’s favorability ratings plummeted to a record low for any party.
- Just 5 percent of Americans thought Congress was doing a good job.
- The tea party is as unpopular as ever.
- Furloughed workers drank a bunch.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."