US Capitol photo from Shutterstock

More than two weeks after disagreements over the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) forced a partial shutdown of the federal government, it appears that relief may finally be in sight. Multiple outlets report that the Senate has agreed on a bipartisan proposal to extend the nation’s debt limit. If Congress approves the package, which is expected, it would extend the debt ceiling, averting a devastating default, and allowing thousands of furloughed government workers to return to their jobs. As Inhabitat has reported over the past 16 days, the government shutdown infringed on Americans’ quality of life in many disturbing ways, from blocking access to publicly funded National Parks, to possibly facilitating a major salmonella outbreak. For all these reasons and more, we can only hope that reason prevails, and a consensus is reached before midnight Wednesday. Keep reading for more details about the proposed deal.

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According to the Chicago Tribune, “[t]he proposal makes no substantial changes to the president’s healthcare law, which Republicans had hoped to stop or stall by using the budget crisis as leverage. A minor provision on the healthcare law was included in the legislation, requiring those Americans who purchase insurance on the new healthcare exchanges to verify their income.”

So it would seem that after two weeks of bickering and lost pay for government employees (except Congresspersons, mind you), the Republican attempt to block the Affordable Care Act from being implemented was a total failure.

Although it’s a relief to learn that the government shutdown is on its way to being over, it’s important to point out that, yet again, this is only a temporary fix. “The agreement would allow the government to continue borrowing to pay its bills through Feb. 7 and would provide funding to reopen the government and keep it running through Jan. 15,” reports the Chicago Tribune.

So, unless there’s a drastic change in the way Democrats and Republicans do business in Washington, we’re likely to find ourselves in the very same vortex of anxiety just after ringing in the New Year.

Via Chicago Tribune