ONE DOWN: Senate Passes Bill to Open Government and Avoid Debt Default
One down, the House of Representatives to (theoretically) go. The Senate has passed a bill re-opening the government and avoiding a debt limit default:
An agreement to end the partial government shutdown and avoid a possible U.S. default easily passed the U.S. Senate and headed to the House for a vote expected later Wednesday.
If approved by the Republican-led House, the legislation would go to President Barack Obama to be signed into law by the end of Thursday — the deadline for increasing the federal borrowing limit or risk the first default in American history.
Such quick congressional action on a measure announced earlier in the day was in stark contrast to the protracted brinksmanship of recent weeks that led to the shutdown now in its 16th day and brought the threat of default.
It’s the end — for now, at least — of a chapter where the Republican House used what many analyst called “hostage politics” to try and use a government shut down and the threat of a debt default to get policies they could not win at the ballot box, in Congress with votes, or in the courts. MORE:
The measure represented a victory for Obama and Democrats over conservative Republicans who tried to use the shutdown and debt ceiling deadline to wring concessions on spending cuts and dismantling the Obama’s signature health care reforms.
However, the final agreement worked out by Senate leaders after House Speaker John Boehner was unable to get his own Republican caucus to support a House GOP version lacked any substantive measures sought by political right beyond extending current spending levels until January 15.
It also extended the federal debt ceiling until February 7 and set up budget negotiations between the House and Senate intended to come up with a broader spending plan for the rest of fiscal year 2014, which ends on September 30.
Another provision requiring the government to confirm the eligibility of people receiving federal subsidies under Obamacare was labeled by Democrats and the White House as minor.
“We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” Boehner told a radio station in his home state of Ohio.
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