Thursday, December 18, 2014

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NY1 News looks back on 2013 with our annual Year In Review series of reports.

2013 Washington D.C. Year In Review: Dysfunction Hits New High With Shutdown

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One word sums up the year in Washington: dysfunction. NY1’s Michael Scotto takes a look back at the government shutdown and all the fighting in between.

A new Congress and a newly-sworn-in president did nothing to calm a political climate that was already bubbling with toxicity.

As the year kicked off, Northeast lawmakers had to stop conservative Republicans from trying to block billions of dollars in Hurricane Sandy rebuilding aid.

"Our response has been characterized by delay, obstruction, postponement, obfuscation,” said Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who represents parts of Brooklyn and Queens.

Those words pretty much describe the year.

In March, automatic spending cuts kicked in after lawmakers couldn't agree on how to stop them.

In April, Senate Republicans rejected the pleas of Newtown parents and blocked efforts to enact new gun safety measures.

Months later in July, the Senate did manage to pass a massive immigration reform bill, but efforts to bring it for a vote in the House were blocked by the GOP.

The dysfunction came to a head when a Republican-waged campaign to kill the president's health care law led to the first government shutdown in nearly two decades.

“You can yell all you want, but you're not silencing the voice,” said Rep. Eliot Engel on the House floor on Sept. 28.

The fight lasted 16 days, ending right before the federal government would have defaulted on its debt.

Republicans got nothing but bad PR for the fight.

But they made up political ground days later, when they began hammering the botched rollout out of the Affordable Care Act, in advance of next year's midterm elections.

Amid all the chaos, there were a couple of signs of bipartisanship.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand assembled a group of Republicans and Democrats to fight military sexual assaults.

Her plan is currently on hold, but could get a vote next year.
And as lawmakers left town, they resolved one of their major fights by passing a bipartisan budget.

As lawmakers return to work in 2014, there may be more fights on the horizon, specifically over spending bills due by January 15 and the debt ceiling, which again needs to be raised in order to avoid default. ClientIP:, UserAgent: CCBot/2.0 ( Profile: TWCSAMLSP