US government shutdown: Debt ceiling lifted as Republicans cave in last-minute deal

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US debt ceiling lifted and furloughed staff go back to work: Not a proud time in history to be an American, right? After two-and-a-half embarrassing weeks, US lawmakers finally pulled their fingers out and passed a bill to reopen federal agencies and to raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit. In doing so, they've at least postponed a potentially catastrophic default on debt repayments.

For 16 days Congress played chicken as Republicans hell-bent on killing ObamaCare refused to deal with Democrats who wouldn't back down.

As Thursday's deadline approached, Republicans in both houses pulled the plug on their extortion attempt, lest ratings agencies downgrade the US government's AAA debt rating which would hit the economy hard.

With the support of more than half of all Senate Republicans and support, the bill got through, allowing suspended government staff to get back to work and the nation's debt limit to rise.

The last minute deal means legal enforcement of the limit is pushed back to February 7. Although defeated, hardline Republicans who voted against Wednesday's bill remain unmoved. Pretty rich, seeing as ObamaCare became law via democratic means, while their war on the health care law amounts to a tantrum because they didn't get their own way.

We'll see how this mess hits their electability once the dust settles.
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