WASHINGTON - President Obama has signed a bipartisan bill to reopen the
federal government and avert an unprecedented debt default, ending a
bitter and partisan 16-day impasse.
Furloughed federal workers are expected to return to work Thursday.
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.
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.
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,
"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.
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,
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.
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.
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.
Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan,
R-Wisc., were scheduled to meet for breakfast Thursday morning to begin
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
House Republican leaders relied on House Democrats to provide the votes to pass the Senate package.
The conservative activist group FreedomWorks railed against the deal
as a "complete surrender" to Democrats. The group joined a trio that
includes Club for Growth and Heritage Action in advising lawmakers to
oppose the plan because they will use it to rank Republicans in their
The shutdown and debt ceiling fight have been
politically bruising for the GOP, but White House spokesman Jay Carney
declined to say the end result was a victory for Democrats.
are no winners here," he said. "We said that from the beginning, and
we're going to say it right up to the end because it's true. The
American people have paid a price for this. And nobody who's sent here
to Washington by the American people can call themselves a winner if the
American people have paid a price for what's happened. And the economy
has suffered because of it, and it was wholly unnecessary."
Initially, House Republican leaders sought a broad package of
spending cuts and financial changes to raise the $16.7 trillion debt
limit. But they never put forward the plan, and the lack of direction
exposed cracks between House Republicans and their Senate counterparts,
who voiced increasing frustrations about the lack of a unified strategy.
series of public opinion polls in the past two weeks showed the
Republican Party tanking in popularity, which Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.,
recently called "devastating."
"I think it's obvious that we are
now seeing the end of this agonizing odyssey that this body has been put
through, but far more importantly, the American people have been put
through," McCain said Wednesday, "It's one of the more shameful chapters
that I have seen in the years that I have spent here in the Senate."
Contributing: David Jackson
Follow @DaviSusan on Twitter.