After 15 days of a government shutdown and on the eve of when the country was set to lose its borrowing authority, Congress passed legislation to fund the government and avert a default Wednesday night. President Obama later signed the bill, officially reopening the government and allowing federal employees to head back to work.
By a vote of 81 to 18 in the Senate and 285 to 144 in the House, the agreement, negotiated by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky, was approved. It will fund the government through Jan. 15 and lift the debt ceiling through Feb. 7. The bill will also pay furloughed government workers for the time they missed during the shutdown.
"This compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs," Reid said on the floor earlier Wednesday when he announced an agreement had been reached. "It's never easy for two sides to reach consensus. It's really hard, sometimes harder than others. This time was really hard."
White House Office of Management and Budget director Sylvia Mathews Burwell confirmed that President Obama had signed the bill in a statement issued at about 12:45 a.m., adding that the OMB would "work closely with Departments and Agencies to make the transition back to full operating status as smooth as possible."
Speaking from the White House press briefing room after the Senate vote, President Obama said the government would begin reopening immediately after he signed the bill, meaning a long-awaited return to work for thousands of federal workers on Thursday morning.
"We can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty from our businesses and from the American people," he said.
"One of the things that I said throughout this process is we've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis," he continued. "And 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."
As he was leaving the room, he was asked if he thought that due to the temporary nature of the agreement that "isn't this going to happen all over again in a few months?"
"No," he responded.
The president also said he would detail his long-term budget vision on Thursday; he's scheduled to deliver remarks at 10:35 a.m. at the White House.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-57607903/open-for-business-government-shutdown-default-averted/
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