As Senate Leaders announced a final deal to reopen government and temporarily lift the debt ceiling, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) told reporters on Capitol Hill that he would not block Senate consideration of the agreement. Cruz’s move makes it likely that the Senate can quickly consider and pass its agreement before the Thursday debt ceiling deadline.
Senate Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) needs unanimous consent to bring the agreement to the floor quickly. Any one Senator could object, forcing a cloture vote and delaying consideration for several days. Without objections, the Senate could consider the legislation on Wednesday afternoon.
Sens. Reid and McConnell announced the agreement on the Senate floor, shortly after noon. The deal would end the partial government shutdown and fund government through January 15. It would also lift the debt ceiling until early February. The deal also authorizes a conference committee between the House and the Senate to negotiate a longer-term budget. The committee is expected to finalize an agreement by mid-December.
It does not appear that any changes were made to ObamaCare. Earlier, there had been discussions of a delay in a “reinsurance tax”, a top priority for labor unions. There were also discussions about stricter enforcement of income eligibility requirements for ObamaCare subsidies. Neither of those provisions were discussed by Senate leaders in announcing the deal.
It is expected that the House will vote first on the Senate package, clearing the way for speedier consideration in the Senate. That has not been completely finalized yet, though.
A senior Senate aide told Breitbart News that the emerging deal marked an end to the first “skirmish” of the budget and debt fight. The issue is likely to come back after the first of the year.