October has been tumultuous—in the first three weeks of the month the nation was locked in a government shutdown.
That crisis was finally averted last night when Congress voted to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.
But the end of this story has yet to come. Under the new agreement, the government will be funded through January 15th, and the debt ceiling will be raised until February 7th.
That means Congress still has to reach a long-term plan for taxing and spending policies, and once again come to an agreement on raising the debt ceiling in 2014. Otherwise, the Treasury Department will be unable to pay its bills.
W. Michael Blumenthal, former Treasury Secretary and author of the new memoir, “From Exile to Washington: A Memoir of Leadership in the Twentieth Century,” reflects on the nation's fiscal climate and his own time in office.