Senate, House reach bipartisan deal on debt ceiling

Emelie Knobloch

President Barack Obama said to the nation Wednesday night, Oct. 16, there is no reason why we can’t work together.

On day 16 of the government shutdown, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives approve a bipartisan deal to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling.

The deal was approved 81-18 in Senate and 285-144 in House.

“We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” said Speaker of the House John Boehner to a radio station in his home state of Ohio.

The bill will continue to fund the federal government until Jan. 15 as well as raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7.

Thursday is the deadline for increasing the federal borrowing limit or the government is at risk of the first default in American history.

“We need to get out of the habit of governing by crisis,” Obama said.

The bill also requires a long-term budget plan agreement by mid December.

“Americans want not a focus on politics, not a focus on elections, but a focus on the concrete steps that can improve their lives,” Obama said. “Once this agreement lands on my desk, I will sign immediately. … We have a need to earn back the trust of the people.”

According to the Department of the Treasury, the government could have run out of money to pay its bills if the debt limit were not raised.

After approval by the Republican-led House, the legislation will be sent to Obama to be signed by the end of Thursday.

“We will get our House in order for the long term,” Obama said. “I’m eager to work with anyone.”

According to the bill, the federal employees impacted by the 16-day shutdown will receive back pay as soon as practicable.

Another provision in the bill — one requiring the government to confirm the eligibility of people affected by the Affordable Care Act — was labeled by Democrats and the White House as a minor issue.

“I want to thank the leadership for coming together and getting this done,” Obama said. “There is a lot of work ahead for us.”

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said the fight against Obamacare will continue.

With the bill passed, the Congress will have to revisit it in a few months.

“It was not America’s finest moment,” said Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.

Boehner said Wednesday that he would allow a vote in the House on a new Senate deal on debt and spending.

“The U.S. faces a problem bigger than any deadline: $17 trillion debt,” said Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky. “I’m disappointed Dems wouldn’t compromise to avoid the looming debt debacle.”

Obama is set to give a statement about the budget crisis at 10:35 a.m. Thursday.