Senate Leaders Reach Budget Deal To End Shutdown, Avoid Debt Default
With Congress deadlocked for weeks over the country's debt limit and the federal shutdown, the Senate reached a bipartisan compromise that would not only extend the limit but also reopen the government.
The announcement was made by Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell from the Senate floor earlier today (Oct. 16), one day before the expiration of the debt limit which would send the country into default. The deal, which still has to be voted on in both the Senate and the House of Representatives, reveals the GOP and Tea Party members are willing to forgo the fight along party lines for the good of all.
Under the deal, the federal government would be funded until January 15 and raise the so-called “debt ceiling” until February 7. If approved by the House, although there hasn't been any indication from Speaker John Boehner to do so, the country would avoid defaulting on its bills for the first time.
According to sources, the Senate deal under discussion would reopen the government, funding it until January 15. It would also raise the debt limit until February 7 to avert a possible default on U.S. debt obligations for the first time.
It also would set up budget negotiations between the House and Senate for a long-term spending plan, and would include a provision to strengthen verification measures for people seeking government subsidies under Obama's signature health care reforms.
Sen. Ted Cruz, who has been the most vocal GOP proponent in the Senate, promised to stand aside this time and let the deal pass in a brief press conference. President Barack Obama has endorsed the Senate plan and has urged Congress to move swiftly to pass the deal.
If the bill passes in the Senate, it would move to the House, forcing Speaker Boehner's hand as the chamber will face pressure to pass considering the dissent within the GOP and the growing collaborations across the aisle. The deadline for the debt ceiling default is at midnight.