Deal Done. Shutdown Ends. Default Averted.

10:55 PM, Oct 16, 2013   |    comments
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Susan Davis, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON - Congress approved a bipartisan deal to reopen the federal government and avert an unprecedented debt default, ending a bitter and partisan 16-day impasse.

 

President Obama said he will sign the bill as soon as it reaches his desk.

The Senate voted 81-18; The House voted 285-144. Only Republicans opposed the deal in each chamber.

Both chambers then adjourned for the rest of the week.

House GOP leaders accepted the Senate deal to end the partial shutdown and avert a Thursday deadline to raise the nation's $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, that risked the nation's economic standing.

"The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who negotiated the agreement with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

"This has been a long, challenging few weeks for Congress and for the country. It is my hope that today we can put some of those most urgent issues behind us," McConnell said.

After the Senate vote, President Obama made a brief statement praising leaders of both parties for accepting the deal. "My hope and expectation is everybody has learned that there is no reason why we can't work on the issues at hand, why we can't disagree between the parties while still being agreeable, and make sure that we're not inflicting harm on the American people when we do have disagreements," Obama said,

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, who led the unsuccessful GOP effort to dismantle the president's healthcare law in the fight, announced early Wednesday that he would not block the Senate deal and he urged GOP lawmakers to support it.

"The House has fought with everything it has" in the latest budget fight, he said, but he would not allow the risk of default to occur. Boehner said Republicans were committed to keeping up their fight to rein in the Affordable Care Act but would use "smart, targeted strikes" and aggressive oversight in the future. "Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the president's health care law will continue." Republicans remain opposed to new taxes, he added.

Republicans initially had demanded delaying or defunding President Obama's signature health care law before they would agree to raise the debt ceiling or fund the government, but those demands faded over several weeks. The final deal does not include any significant revisions of the Affordable Care Act.

The narrow deal includes a stopgap measure that would fund the government through Jan. 15, suspend the debt ceiling until Feb. 7 and establish a framework for formal budget negotiations to begin. Negotiators would be tasked with reporting out by Dec. 13 recommendations for longer-term spending levels and deficit reduction.

The package will also provide back pay to the 800,000 federal workers affected by the shutdown, and keep in place a pay freeze for members of Congress through the upcoming budget year.

Senate Budget Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., were scheduled to meet for breakfast Thursday morning to begin talks.

Senate leaders reasserted control of negotiations after Boehner failed Tuesday to corral GOP lawmakers behind a competing budget proposal that would have eliminated federal subsidies for lawmakers, administration officials, and their staffs to buy insurance under the new system.

House Republican leaders relied on House Democrats to provide the votes to pass the Senate package.

 

 

 

 

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