After all the bickering and grandstanding, the billions lost and trust squandered, it was much ado about nothing
The partial government shutdown's finally over. The debt ceiling debacle has been averted. Obamacare remains virtually unscathed.
The hardline House Republicans, whose opposition to the President's signature healthcare law set this all in motion, got pretty much zip - except maybe their reputations marred.
"To say we as Republicans left a lot on the table would be one of the biggest understatements in American political history,"Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina tweeted.
But it's all temporary - the cliched kicking of the can. In a few months, Congress will come back to fight the same battles.
For now, though, thousands of furloughed federal workers will return to work Thursday, the U.S. can pay its bills, and an economic superpower can again boast a functioning government.
Pundits will conduct a post-mortem of the bitter stalemate. And the public will look ahead to what's next.
CNN's Athena Jones says the House and Senate budget chairs will meet Thursday to talk about the big challenges ahead like getting a fiscal budget for 2014.
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The country crashes into the debt ceiling at midnight, and there is no deal yet in Washington.
The deal-making resumes Wednesday, as the government slides into day 16 of the shutdown.
Legislators dropped hints on their way home Tuesday that Senate leaders will present a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reopen the partially shuttered government.
And a Republican member of the House of Representatives is holding out hope that Speaker John Boehner could break with a Republican tradition to put that deal on a fast track.
After adjourning the Senate for the night around 10 p.m. Tuesday, majority leader Sen. Harry Reid sounded upbeat. "We're in good shape," the Nevada Democrat said.
Senate staffers burned midnight oil to draft a framework bill, and a spokesman for Reid said he and his counterpart, minority leader, Republican Senator Mitch McConnell, "are optimistic that an agreement is within reach."
The Senate isn't in session until noon Wednesday, but it's possible that statements may go out in the morning in an effort to assure the markets of progress.
As night fell over the Capitol on Monday, Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid struck a tone of optimism.
Talks with his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, to end the partial government shutdown and avoid a U.S. default had made tremendous progress, he said.
"Perhaps," he added, "tomorrow will be a bright day."
That, indeed, is the hope among investors, world leaders and regular Americans weary of the government stalemate.
Financial markets that began the day Monday with falling stocks ended higher at day's end, with Wall Street heartened by news of a possible deal.
The stakes of the stalemate are high - and climbing.
The partial government shutdown entered its 14th day Monday, just three days before the U.S. government bumps up against its projected borrowing limit.
Talks both on ending the shutdown and on avoiding the debt ceiling have shifted to the Senate, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, along with other top senators, began discussions this weekend.
The Senate reconvened Sunday afternoon, with Reid saying he would do "everything I can throughout the day" to reach some sort of bargain with the chamber's Republican minority.
It's been seemingly nonexistent in Washington for weeks, as Republicans and Democrats squabbled about funding the government and whether to raise its borrowing limit. Both sides drew their lines in the sand and talked vociferously at each other, but not to each other.
On Thursday, 10 days into the government's partial shutdown, the tide appeared to turn. House Republicans offered a plan to temporarily stave off the threat of a first-ever U.S. debt default. President Barack Obama listened to them. Both sides agreed to keep on talking.
Said Rep. Pete Sessions, a Texas Republican: "We're all working together now."
Sessions spoke early Thursday evening after he and fellow House Republicans talked with Obama at the White House.
Multiple House Republican members and GOP leadership sources tell CNN that leaders are preparing a proposal to raise the debt ceiling temporarily while keeping the government shut down.
The sources tell CNN that House GOP leaders' plan is to formally discuss the idea with the GOP conference at a meeting Thursday morning.
Senior House Republican sources have been telling CNN since earlier this week the idea of raising the debt ceiling for four to six weeks is the most viable way out of the stalemate.
A House Democratic lawmaker told CNN on Wednesday evening that President Barack Obama held a private White House meeting. In it, he said he would likely agree to a short term debt ceiling deal if that's what Republicans would support in order to avoid default, the lawmaker said.
A Salmonella outbreak linked to a California poultry producer has sickened nearly 300 people in 18 states, health officials say. As of Tuesday morning, no recall had been issued.
Raw chicken products from Foster Farms plants have been identified as the likely source of this outbreak of Salmonella Heidelberg.
The CDC first alerted FSIS to a growing number of Salmonella cases on July 1, USDA spokesman Aaron Lavallee told CNN. At the time, 18 people had been sickened in four states, and Foster Farms was a possible link between the patients. USDA investigators began "site sampling," or testing Foster Farms facilities on September 9, and concluded their analysis of the majority of the samples collected on October 7.
"The partial government shutdown did not affect the investigation or communication with the public," Lavallee said.
The Salmonella outbreak comes one week after CDC Director Tom Frieden tweeted: "CDC had to furlough 8,754 people. They protected you yesterday, can't tomorrow. Microbes/other treats didn't shut down. We are less safe."
That raises the question: With government agencies like the CDC on furlough due to the partial government shutdown, is our food supply safe?
The shutdown notice issued by the USDA indicates the the FSIS will continue to inspect birds and animals intended for use as food both before and after slaughter, supervise the further processing of meat and poultry products, ensure that meat, poultry and egg products are safe and also prevent the sale of adulterated meat or poultry products. Despite furloughing 1,218 employees, the USDA says no meat and poultry inspectors have been put on leave.
But future outbreak investigations could be affected by the government shutdown if it continues much longer, some experts say.
"The CDC is the central coordination point and often the leader of the investigation, and the state health departments all collaborate under the umbrella of CDC guidance," says Dr. William Schaffner, chairman of the department of preventive medicine at Vanderbilt University. "The CDC invariably is the conductor of the investigative orchestra."
President Barack Obama is ready to talk even on Republicans' terms, he insisted Tuesday, so long as Congress acts first to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling - even for a short period.
At a news conference, Obama indicated Republicans could essentially set the agenda for budget negotiations, but only if Congress agrees first to a short-term spending plan to fund the government and to raise the federal borrowing limit to avoid a possible first-ever U.S. default next week.
"I will talk about anything," the president said.
Is it a glimmer of hope, or more rhetoric as the deadline for possible government default gets closer?
After weeks of near silence without any hint of a potential compromise between the Obama administration and congressional Republicans over raising the nation's debt ceiling, the White House may be offering some conciliatory language that could help lead to a deal to prevent a potential default on October 17.
As recently as Friday, White House officials declined to specify any demand for the length of a deal to increase the nation's debt ceiling.
As the partial shutdown of the federal government enters its seventh day Monday, the countdown to a government debt default drops to ten days.
A default is widely regarded as a much bigger economic disaster than the shutdown of non-essential services. President Barack Obama has demanded that Congress raise the debt ceiling, and avoid default, without conditions.
But House Speaker John Boehner said Sunday there will be no debt limit increase, and no end to the partial shutdown, unless President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats negotiate with House Republicans.
Boehner told ABC News that President Obama and some objective observers are wrong about the number of House Republicans who would vote for a so-called "clean" continuing resolution to re-open the federal government without conditions.
"There are not the votes in the House to pass a clean CR," the speaker said