Congress Clears Government Spending, Debt Hike
On Wednesday night, Congress cleared the last hurdle to end the partial government shutdown and lift the nation's debt ceiling. Just hours after the Senate cleared the agreement, the House voted to accept the deal negotiated by Sens. Reid and McConnell. President Obama is expected to sign the agreement into law in advance of Thursday's debt ceiling deadline.
Only 18 Republican Senators voted against the deal in the Senate, early Wednesday evening. The agreement funds government through January 15 and lifts the debt ceiling until February 7. In the House, a majority of the Republican caucus voted against the deal. Just 87 Republicans joined almost all House Democrats in approving the Senate deal.
As a result of the votes, the federal government will reopen on Thursday.
The deal is just a temporary reprieve from the nation's fiscal debate. In the coming weeks, House and Senate Budget Committee members will attempt to hammer out an agreement on a longer-term budget deal. After the first of the year, Congress will again have to authorize renewed government spending, at much lower appropriations levels. It will also run up again against the nation's debt ceiling.
Round 1 is over. Round 2 is set to begin again shortly.