- Current spending levels are authorized through January 15
- We run out of money again on February 7
- Income verification will be needed for Affordable Care Act subsidies
- Furloughed works will get back pay
OK, so Congress passed a bill, the President signed it into law and the government's finally back in business.
But with all the last-minute press conferencing, speechifying, and endless partisan tweeting, the one thing that wasn't extensively discussed was the actual details of the bill. Since it evolved constantly and was pushed through at the 11th hour, things got a tad confusing.
Here's are the key points you need to know about the bill that saved the government:
America can keep spending . . . through January 15
This goes down as a 'win' for President Barack Obama and the Democrats. Republicans tried to use the shutdown and the looming debt ceiling deadline to force spending cuts or even dismantle major parts of the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. They got neither.
"We fought the good fight, we just didn't win," House Speaker John Boehner said on a local radio station.
Now, there's a little more time for both sides to hash out the bigger issues, like entitlement programs and tax reform. But Republicans have been badly bruised and aren't going to want to walk away empty-handed again. So, it's safe to expect them to regroup, get on the same page, and take a hard line the next time around.
We run out of cash again . . . on February 7
Mark your calendars, because we get to have this fight all over again in a few months. February 7 is the new date the Treasury Department will run out of ways to pay America's bills. This legislation raised the debt ceiling just enough to fund the government for the next few months. The two chambers of Congress will now have to create a spending plan for the 2014 fiscal year. If negotiations break down, we may be in for another round of last-minute debt ceiling shenanigans. But what are the odds of that happening, right?
Show them the money . . . for healthcare subsidies
This was a win for Republicans, but they aren't exactly doing a group high five. Conservatives had been pushing for insurance marketplaces to confirm the income of those requesting health care subsidies since the Obama Administration scaled back the requirement months ago. It's a pretty small bone to be thrown when you consider their starting point was an effort to totally defund Obamacare. But hey, a (small) win's a (small) win.
Furloughed workers WILL be getting back pay
In an expected move, Congress agreed to pay back federal workers whose wages were withheld while the government was shut down. Remember the Capitol police officers, some of whom showed up to work out of a sense of duty and put their lives on the line when an erratic driver tore through the streets of DC? They'll finally get paid. Sylvia Burwell, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said furloughed workers should expect to return to work Thursday.
Of course, in the midst of battling to keep the U.S. from defaulting, Congress took the time to load the 35-page deal with some choice pork spending. But that's another story.