Government Shutdown Ends; Congress Reaches Deal
Washington (CNN) — [Breaking news alert, 10:14 p.m.]
The House of Representatives late Wednesday night passed a Senate-brokered bill to fully reopen the government and raise the federal government’s debt ceiling.
[Previous update, 10:03 p.m.]
Weeks of bitter stalemate gave way to a frenetic few hours of legislative action Wednesday to address the federal government’s latest budgetary crisis — an episode marked by rare bipartisanship, but also the very real prospect of more fights to come.
The relatively rapid movement, by congressional standards, came on the 16th day of the partial government shutdown and one day before the Treasury Department had warned the nation could run out of money to pay its bills unless it raises its borrowing limit.
If legislation brokered by Democratic and Republican leaders in the Senate gets to his desk, President Barack Obama has vowed to get things back up and running as soon as possible.
“I will sign it immediately,” the President said. “We’ll begin reopening our government immediately.”
Still, it’s not a done deal.
The lone obstacle — as it’s been throughout this process, from Democrats’ standpoint — is the GOP-led House. Its members began debating the legislation at about 9:30 p.m. ET, about an hour after the Senate passed the same measure by an overwhelming 81 to 18 vote. They began voting shortly before 10 p.m.
For all its resistance to date, even staunch conservatives who say they will vote “no” concede the measure should easily pass the House. If it does, that would mean hundreds of thousands of furloughed government workers will very soon return to work, national parks will reopen and investors can rest easier knowing a debt default isn’t imminent.
“We’ve been able to come together for a lot of different reasons,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid told reporters after that vote of his work with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to negotiate a deal.
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