The impasse in the US Congress between the Republican party and the Democrat Obama administration is finally over after a vote on the morning (GMT time) of 17 October allowed the US government to raise its debt ceiling, and in turn, allowed frozen government funding to be released again. The result was that the US Government “shutdown” since 1 October was ended and government departments including museums, government departments and NASA were allowed to get back to work (though some mission essential parts of NASA did carry on)
The impasse had been caused by the “Tea Party” – right-wing elements of the Republican Party – refusing to pass the debt limit raising bill until President Obama backed down on his ”Obamacare” health insurance reforms – a half way house to a UK-style state run National Health Service. In the end, the Congress representatives of the Tea Party were forced to back down themselves having lost public support after government workers were laid off.
The Tea Party supporters objected to the government enforced changes to the mainly privately run US health system, interference which they view as fundementally against their free market creed. Critics of the Tea Party also suggest that their opposition was also motivated by a fear that “Obamacare” may yet prove to be successful and popular.