Why a government shutdown might have been good for America

Washington has reached a deal to keep federal agencies running through the summer. Not everyone is cheering that news

Congress managed to stave off a government shutdown, but arguably upped the stakes for a far more perilous debt-ceiling fight.
(Image credit: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

It looks like the government won't be shutting down next week after all. On Thursday, the House passed a short-term spending bill to keep federal programs and agencies funded through September. The measure, which replaces a similar one that runs out on March 27, cleared the Senate on Wednesday, and now just needs President Obama's signature. The bill leaves in place the $85 billion in automatic "sequester" spending cuts, although the Senate tweaked the cutbacks to spare a few priority items, such as meat inspections and highways.

Not everyone is relieved that the threat of a shutdown has evaporated. "It's not that I like government shutdowns," says Ezra Klein at The Washington Post. "I'm as big a fan of national parks as the next guy. I just really, really, really don't like debt-ceiling fights." And that's where Congress' battle over taxes and spending is headed next, as the federal government is on track to reach its borrowing limit again in late July or August.

Subscribe to The Week

Escape your echo chamber. Get the facts behind the news, plus analysis from multiple perspectives.


Sign up for The Week's Free Newsletters

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

From our morning news briefing to a weekly Good News Newsletter, get the best of The Week delivered directly to your inbox.

Sign up
To continue reading this article...
Continue reading this article and get limited website access each month.
Get unlimited website access, exclusive newsletters plus much more.
Cancel or pause at any time.
Already a subscriber to The Week?
Not sure which email you used for your subscription? Contact us
Harold Maass, The Week US

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at The Week. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 debut of the U.S. print edition and served as editor of TheWeek.com when it launched in 2008. Harold started his career as a newspaper reporter in South Florida and Haiti. He has previously worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, ABC News and Fox News, and for several years wrote a daily roundup of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance.