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Congress votes to end shutdown, avoid U.S. default

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.,  speaks with reporters after voting on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, as Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., listen.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., speaks with reporters after voting on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, as Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., listen. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • President Barack Obama walks out to make a statement to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The Senate voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown and the measure now heads to the House, which is expected to back the bill before day's end. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    President Barack Obama walks out to make a statement to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The Senate voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown and the measure now heads to the House, which is expected to back the bill before day's end. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The Senate voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown and the measure now heads to the House, which is expected to back the bill before day's end. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

    President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The Senate voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown and the measure now heads to the House, which is expected to back the bill before day's end. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

  • Tea party conservatives Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, right, walk to a meeting as the Senate prepares to vote on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Tea party conservatives Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, right, walk to a meeting as the Senate prepares to vote on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, pumps his fist as he walks past reporters after a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. The partial government shutdown is in its third week and less than two days before the Treasury Department says it will be unable to borrow and will rely on a cash cushion to pay the country's bills. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

    Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, pumps his fist as he walks past reporters after a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. The partial government shutdown is in its third week and less than two days before the Treasury Department says it will be unable to borrow and will rely on a cash cushion to pay the country's bills. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters waiting outside a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans as news emerged that leaders reached a last-minute agreement to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Cruz said he would not try to block the agreement.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

    Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters waiting outside a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans as news emerged that leaders reached a last-minute agreement to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Cruz said he would not try to block the agreement. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

  • Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.,  speaks with reporters after voting on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013, as Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., chair of the Senate Budget Committee, and Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., listen.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • President Barack Obama walks out to make a statement to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The Senate voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown and the measure now heads to the House, which is expected to back the bill before day's end. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • President Barack Obama makes a statement to reporters in the Brady Press Briefing Room at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. The Senate voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown and the measure now heads to the House, which is expected to back the bill before day's end. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
  • Tea party conservatives Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, right, walk to a meeting as the Senate prepares to vote on a measure to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013.  (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
  • Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, pumps his fist as he walks past reporters after a meeting with House Republicans on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 in Washington. The partial government shutdown is in its third week and less than two days before the Treasury Department says it will be unable to borrow and will rely on a cash cushion to pay the country's bills. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks to reporters waiting outside a closed-door meeting of Senate Republicans as news emerged that leaders reached a last-minute agreement to avert a threatened Treasury default and reopen the government after a partial, 16-day shutdown, at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013. Cruz said he would not try to block the agreement.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Up against a deadline, Congress passed and sent a waiting President Obama legislation late last night to avoid a threatened national default and end the 16-day partial government shutdown, the culmination of an epic political drama that placed the U.S. economy at risk.

The Senate voted first, a bipartisan 81-18 at midevening. That cleared the way for a final 285-144 vote in the Republican-controlled House about two hours later on the legislation, which hewed strictly to the terms Obama laid down when the twin crises erupted more than three weeks ago.

The legislation would permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer and fund the government through Jan. 15. More than 2 million federal workers would be paid – those who had remained on the job and those who had been furloughed.

After the Senate approved the measure, Obama hailed the vote and said he would sign it immediately after it reached his desk. “We’ll begin reopening our government immediately, and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty from our businesses and the American people.”

Later, in the House, Rep. Harold Rogers, a Kentucky Republican, said, “After two long weeks, it is time to end this government shutdown. It’s time to take the threat of default off the table. It’s time to restore some sanity to this place.”

Earlier in the day, the stock market surged higher at the prospect of an end to the crisis that also had threatened to shake confidence in the U.S. economy overseas

Republicans conceded defeat after a long struggle. “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” conceded House Speaker John Boehner as lawmakers lined up to vote on a bill that includes nothing for GOP lawmakers who had demand to eradicate or scale back Obama’s signature health care overhaul.

“The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, declaring that the nation “came to the brink of disaster” before sealing an agreement.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who negotiated the deal with Reid, emphasized that it preserved a round of spending cuts negotiated two years ago with Obama and Democrats. As a result, he said, “government spending has declined for two years in a row” for the first time since the Korean War. “And we’re not going back on this agreement,” he added.

Only a temporary truce, the measure set a time frame of early next year for the next likely clash between Obama and the Republicans over spending and borrowing.

But for now, government was lurching back to life. In one example, officials met to discuss plans for gearing back up at the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where 307 employees remained at work during the partial shutdown and more than 8,000 were furloughed.

After weeks of gridlock, the measure had support from the White House, most if not all Democrats in Congress and many Republicans fearful of the economic impact of a default.

Boehner and the rest of the top GOP leadership told their rank and file in advance they would vote for the measure. In the end, Republicans split 144 against and 87 in favor. All 198 voting Democrats were supporters.

Final passage came in plenty of time to assure Obama’s signature before the administration’s deadline.

That was when Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.

Tea Party-aligned lawmakers who triggered the shutdown that began Oct. 1 said they would vote against the legislation. Significantly, though, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and others agreed not to use the Senate’s cumbersome 18th century rules to slow the bill’s progress.

In remarks on the Senate floor, Cruz said the measure was “a terrible deal” and criticized fellow Republicans for lining up behind it.

McConnell made no mention of the polls showing that the shutdown and flirtation with default have sent Republicans’ public approval plummeting and have left the party badly split nationally as well as in his home state of Kentucky. He received a prompt reminder, though.

“When the stakes are highest, Mitch McConnell can always be counted on to sell out conservatives,” said Matt Bevin, who is challenging the party leader from the right in a 2014 election primary.

More broadly, national Tea Party groups and their allies underscored the internal divide. The Club for Growth urged lawmakers to vote against the congressional measure, and it said it would factor in the organization’s decision when it decides which candidates to support in midterm elections next year.

“There are no significant changes to Obamacare, nothing on the other major entitlements that are racked with trillions in unfunded liabilities, and no meaningful spending cuts either. If this bill passes, Congress will kick the can down the road, yet again,” the group said.

Even so, support for Boehner appeared solid inside his fractious rank and file. “There are no plots, plans or rumblings that I know of. And I was part of one in January, so I’d probably be on the whip list for that,” said Rep. Thomas Massie of Kentucky.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce came out in favor of the bill.

Simplicity at the end, there was next to nothing in the agreement beyond authorization for the Treasury to resume borrowing and funding for the government to reopen.

House and Senate negotiators are to meet this fall to see if progress is possible on a broad deficit-reduction compromise of the type that has proved elusive in the current era of divided government.

Additionally, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is to be required to produce a report stating that her agency is capable of verifying the incomes of individuals who apply for federal subsidies under the health care law known as Obamacare.

Obama had insisted repeatedly he would not pay “ransom” by yielding to Republican demands for significant changes to the health care overhaul in exchange for funding the government and permitting Treasury the borrowing latitude to pay the nation’s bills.

Other issues fell by the wayside in a final deal, including a Republican proposal for the suspension of a medical device tax in Obamacare and a Democratic call to delay a fee on companies for everyone who receives health coverage under an employer-sponsored plan.

The gradual withering of Republicans’ Obamacare-related demands defined the arc of the struggle that has occupied virtually all of Congress’ time for the past three weeks.

The shutdown began Oct. 1 after Cruz and his tea party allies in the House demanded the defunding of the health care law as a trade for providing essential government funding.

Obama and Reid refused, then refused again and again as Boehner gradually scaled back Republican demands.

The shutdown initially idled about 800,000 workers, but that soon fell to about 350,000 after Congress agreed to let furloughed Pentagon employees return to work. While there was widespread inconvenience, the mail was delivered, Medicare continued to pay doctors who treated seniors and there was no interruption in Social Security benefits.

Still, national parks were closed to the detriment of tourists and local businesses, government research scientists were sent home and Food and Drug Administration inspectors worked only sporadically.

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I found this OPINION piece interesting. And pretty much right-on, as far as I can see. " How Republicans Fit The Classic Profile Of An Abuser." It's not so much domestic terrorism, as it is domestic abuse. http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/10/16/republicans-abusers/

OK we have a temporary fix in place. Now I hear Ted Cruz saying he won't rule out another shutdown. So just why isn't Homeland Security (oxymoron) concerned with his brand of domestic terrorism. Why concern ourselves with the underwear bomb or the shoe bomb when we are in more danger from the moron bomb at home. So now we have yet another failed attempt to kill/delay the ACA. I caught a quote from one of the nightly news programs but didn't hear the context it was used in or by whom, but Ted Cruz could probably learn something from it. - "There is nothing to be learned from the second kick of a mule."

Obama adds $7 trillion to the debt..liberals outraged over rounding error. Then they wonder where the outrage was during the Bush years, ignoring the Obama years. And, they just got another credit card from the bank of China to rack up more debt our kids cant pay back. Thats unpatriotic.

So no outrage Bush, you saved it all up for Obama?

More bloviating and hypocritical nonsense from the right--you'd think the deficit is still growing. Instead, it's shrinking. http://www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2013/02/27/the-best-kept-secret-in-american-politics-federal-budget-deficits-are-actually-shrinking/ A long look back shows that Democrats are best at managing the economy, necessarily more adept at cleaning up the messes created by Republican policies over 8 decades. Count the deficit and its cause--the Great Recession, as one more thing the right won't take any responsibility for creating--just like the government shutdown. It's all Obama's fault. It's as if history suddenly began on a certain date in January, 2013, and nothing that happened before had anything to do with what came after. Americans should not be fooled. The Obama-haters, the government-haters, the TPers, made clear their fear and loathing of moderation and reality long ago, as numerous trolling posts on this site have demonstrated. Watch the Republican Party resolve itself into permanent minority status--it's the New Confederate Party--catering to racism, paranoia, climate denialism, irrationality, and fear mongering of all kinds. The party of Lincoln is splintering away, not with a whimper, but with a Tea Party.

Correction: the date the Great Recession started for the amnesiacs of the right was January, 2009.

.......and democrats had been in charge of Congress for the prior 2 years crushing the economy with their regulations and legislation. Anybody remember Barney Franks quote about Fannie & Freddie......?

Thank you screwball Conservatives. You got nothing except burning up .6% of this quarters GDP, (that's about 24 billion dollars) a ruined reputation and a good chance of Democratic majorities in both Houses.

there are absolutely zero metrics that prove that statement - It is just a re-post of liberal hogwash floating around the media.

google 24 Billion on the Wall Street Journal web sight. Let us know what you find. LOL

Well whatever the federal debt is, it is now 24 billion more thanks to Ted Cruz and the tea party for the shutdown. Which just goes to prove it isn't about the debt, it is about getting Obama and the Democrats. Where was all this outrage when Bush was raising the federal debt after he came in with a surplus.

I blame it on NH water, but I'm beginning to believe that Ted Cruz is a Cuban operative, sent by Castro, to disrupt our government.;)

The debt increases $3 million a minute. Apparently it didnt increase at all during the shutdown. Or last month. Hocus Pocus...??? And, Bush came into office $5trillion in the hole.

and left it at over $10 trillion before all the smoke had cleared.

and in 4 years NObama and the democrats have increased it to $$$$ 17 TRILLION

CNSNews.com - According to the Daily Treasury Statement the Treasury has had the federal debt stuck at exactly $16,699,396,000,000.00 since May - based on that Fact - who do you think has been lying to you . ANSWER: NObama and the media

Correct Sail, Dictator Obama makes one mistake after another has one scandal after another and the corrupt media walks behind Obama like a pet owner with a pooper scooper covering up every mess that Obama gets into. Obama in today's press conference was at the height of his arrogance. He talked about Washington as if he wasn't even a part of Washington. Only problem is that Obama is the central figure in the reason why Washington is such a huge failure.

With every post you make on this topic, you demonstrate just how far afield politically you really are. There's always someone else to blame, isn't there? It's never about you--who is always the height of reason and reasonableness. If it isn't the "corrupt media", it's "Dictator Obama". Whatever the issue, there's always an excuse, a boogeyman to blame when you don't get your way, one with vast and unseen powers, intent on stymieing you at every turn, and controlling a wide-ranging conspiracy. And always with the unwitting help of 'dupes' brainwashed by the liberal media--the dreaded 'low-information' voter.

Couldn't have said it better myself. You got almost all the code words in one paragraph.

Bruce, you have been blaming conservatives on this forum non stop. You also have plenty of catch phrases that you use on a regular basis. Lets be fair here, you are also pretty far afield in your politics.

Do you honestly believe what you typed??? That is a very narrow view of what actually happened, very narrow. One scandal after another. Any reasonably intelligent person can see past this one sided smoke screen. The PROBLEM is and always has been the inability of congress to understand the term compromise. The single attribute that made the US the nation great. You obviously haven't heard a word that the poster child of ignorant people, Ted Cruz has uttered. He is a dictator wanna be that has no care in the word about what damage his arrogance and ignorance can and will do to the Country. Compared to him, Obama is Mr. Compromise.

here is a full list of the administration’s most egregious scandals. 1. IRS targets Obama’s enemies: 2. Benghazi: This is actually three scandals in one: 3. Watching the AP 4. Rosengate:5. Holder perjury I: 6. The ATF “Fast and Furious” 7. Holder Perjury II:8. Sebelius demands payment: 9. The Pigford scandal: 10. GSA gone wild: 11. Veterans Affairs in Disney World: 12. Sebelius violates the Hatch Act: 13. Solyndra: 14. EPA AKA Lisa Jackson: 15. The New Black Panthers: 16. Waging war 19. Sestak 20. I’ll pass my own laws: JUST THIS WEEK..... Hyper-Partisan President Obama Violates Hatch Act To Attack Political Opponents With Government / DoD Mass E-Mail Communication.

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