By Robert A. Vellla
Late last night, the U.S. House of Representatives voted 285-144 to end the manufactured government shutdown and to raise the nation’s debt ceiling. Earlier in the day, the U.S. Senate had approved the bill on an 81-18 vote. This agreement is a stunning defeat for the radical right-wing Tea Party, which is fervently opposed to President Obama’s signature achievement in health insurance reform (i.e. the Affordable Care Act) and determined to empower the states by eviscerating the federal government. The total economic cost of the two-week political impasse has been estimated to be $24 billion. The costs resulting from a decline in public trust for America’s institutions, and the damage done to confidence in the U.S. overseas, have yet to be determined.
What did the Tea Party get in return for causing this crisis? Nothing, other than a temporary continuance of reduced federal spending levels set by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (i.e. sequestration); which, by the way, many Republicans had hypocritically argued against.
All 144 “No” votes in the House were cast by Republicans. Here is a map showing the states where those representatives are from:
It should be noted that the bulk of the opposition to sane, responsible governance is centered on the old Confederate states in the South, and a number of seats in the Great Lakes region which were won by the GOP during the 2010 midterm elections and then subsequently gerrymandered to make them safer for their incumbent candidates. Texas had more than twice as many “No” votes as any other state.