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US government reopens as Republican effort to derail health act collapses

BMJ 2013; 347 doi: (Published 18 October 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;347:f6336
  1. Michael McCarthy
  1. 1Seattle

An effort by US Republicans to derail the Affordable Care Act that shut down the federal government for three weeks and threatened a default that rattled financial markets around the world collapsed Wednesday in what is widely seen as a debacle for the party.

The standoff ended late Wednesday night when the Senate and then the House of Representatives passed a temporary spending measure that will finance the government until 15 January and raise the nation’s debt limit until 7 February. The bill passed the Senate 81-18 and the House by a vote of 285-144. President Barack Obama signed the legislation around 12:30 am Thursday.

The standoff began 29 September when the Republican led House of Representatives passed a continuing budget resolution that contained a provision that would have defunded the Affordable Care Act, the 2010 healthcare reform law often called “Obamacare.”

The Democratic majority in the Senate rejected the House bill and sent a version back that did not have the defunding provision. The House, in turn, responded by passing a new version of the bill that would delay the healthcare law by one year, allow employers and healthcare providers …

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