Reporting Reg Chapman
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – With less than two hours to spare, Congress averted a crisis that could have sent the United States into default. On Wednesday night, the House passed the Senate’s bill to end the government shutdown.
The compromise deal funds the government for three months, raises the debt ceiling for four months, initiates immediate debt talks, and adds a token anti-fraud measure to the Affordable Care Act.
The bipartisan agreement comes 16 days into the partial government shutdown.
“There is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that’s been lost in the past couple of weeks,” President Obama said after the Senate’s vote.
The compromise deal funds the government through Jan. 15, raises the debt ceiling through Feb 17, and gets debt talks started immediately.
“This is far less than many of us had hoped for frankly, but it’s far better than what some had sought,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.
Tea Party Republicans fought to use this legislation to delay or defund the president’s health care law, but in the end got neither.
“We would all be better off if the president would have been willing to get off his no negotiation position and work together with all parties,” said Rep. Michele Bachmann, of Minnesota. “We could have had this resolved very early on.”
Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) worked with a bipartisan group of women senators to help get things moving this far.
“This means a lot,” she said as a deal was being hammered out Wednesday. “It means we are going to open the government again, it means we are going to be paying our bills. But most importantly is that it set up a long term way to resolved this by pushing the House budget, Senate budget [and] pushing them into one conference committee.”
The deal is now ready for the president to sign.
Furloughed federal workers should expect to return to work Thursday morning, the White House’s budget office said.