WASHINGTON, D.C. — After weeks of tough negotiations on Capitol Hill, both parties put aside their differences and finally reached a deal to reopen the government and allow the U.S. to continue paying its bills beyond Thursday.
The U.S. House gave final approval Wednesday night, just hours before default, on a U.S. Senate bipartisan deal to end the partial government shutdown and avoid default. The plan passed by a 285 to 144 vote.
“I am extremely pleased that we’ve reopened the government and that we are not going to default on our national finances,” said Second District Congresswoman Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). She voted yes on the deal.
“This compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs,” said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) on the Senate floor.
“After weeks spent facing off across a partisan divide that often seemed too wide to cross, our country came to the brink of disaster. But, in the end, political adversaries set aside their differences and disagreements to prevent that disaster.”
The deal passed by the House was past earlier in the day by the U.S. Senate, the birthplace of the bipartisan plan. The compromise was completed by Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky) Wednesday morning.
The deal will reopen the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7, allowing time for large scale budget plans to eliminate the chances of future shutdowns or defaults.
Despite being called a bipartisan plan, many House Republicans still were not happy but Capito said no bill was going to be perfect.
“Nobody is going to be happy with this. It doesn’t have everything in it that I would want but that’s what governing and reaching conclusions is all about,” she said. “You can’t get everything you want all the time.”
The final agreement makes only minor changes to Obamacare by requiring income verification for people receiving health care subsidies from the government. Capito said this deal is a good starting point to maybe further talks regarding Obamacare and other budget issues.
“We really need to look at this Obamacare question to see what kind of influence it’s having on jobs and on the economy and I’m sure that will be part of the discussions,” she said.
The deal also authorizes a bipartisan conference committee to work out a long-term budget deal by Dec. 13, before government funding runs out again in January.
In a statement released following the vote, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said he was pleased to see leaders set aside their differences and come together in a bipartisan way to reach a deal.
“The bottom line is that we managed to avoid this self-inflicted wound to the national and global economy, but it is past time for America to get its financial house in order. We need a bipartisan, big fix like the Bowles-Simpson template that focuses on spending, revenue and reform,
Manchin stated in the release. “I am hopeful that the development of the bipartisan, bicameral budget committee required under this agreement will be a first step in finding a balanced approach to reducing our deficit, balancing our budget, and responsibly reining in out-of-control spending.”
Without action, the U.S. was on track to run out of borrowing authority at 12 a.m. Thursday, more than two weeks into a partial federal government shutdown.
Capito said it is good they were able to avoid default and end the shutdown, but she is concerned about the damage done by letting the crisis go this long.
“I think that when people see something like shutting the government down and taking us to the brink on the debt limit, I think it erodes trust in government and I don’t think that’s healthy for anybody and I don’t think it helps us in a global sense either,” she said.
Following the U.S. House approval of the plan, the deal went straight to President Barack Obama’s desk for his signature, making it official.
Next, negotiations were expected to begin Thursday on a long-term budget deal.