As the ripples of the Tea Party shutdown have cascaded through every community and across the nation, they have hurt families, workers and businesses everywhere. If this extremist faction had been able to push the United States into default, our economy could have been thrown back into a deep recession.
Fortunately, cooler heads prevailed in the Senate today. Now we can finally vote on the path forward that President Obama and congressional Democrats have long urged, to get past these manufactured crises and engage in meaningful negotiations without the threat of economic Armageddon hanging over the nation. The extortionist tactics that have forced the nation to lurch from one needless calamity to another are corrosive to our economy and our system of government. These tactics breed uncertainty and cause real harm to real people.
The Democratic Leader and the Republican Leader in the Senate came together and the bipartisan deal they struck will reopen the federal government and avoid a catastrophic default. It also buys time for negotiators from the House and the Senate to work out a longer term budget to move us beyond these made-in-Congress disasters every few months.
This budget deal again illustrates -- and as have several recent legislative efforts I headed like immigration reform, patent reform, and reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act -- that both parties can come together for the good of the country. It takes a willingness to forge solutions and consensus. After weeks of House leaders cowering to a radical faction in the House, hopefully that can happen on this budget agreement and on many other pressing issues facing the country. Will the lessons of this wrenching experience be learned by those who wage these tactics? For the good of the nation, let us all hope so.