A last-minute, bipartisan agreement cleared both houses of Congress on Wednesday night, avoiding a Treasury default and ending the 16-day partial government shutdown.
"This is a time for reconciliation," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said when announcing the agreement earlier in the day.
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Republicans agreed to the deal on a pledge to cut spending in one area of the budget decline for two years in a row.
The deal passed the Senate on Wednesday night by a vote of 81-18, with both Sens. Al Franken and Amy Klobuchar voting in favor. A few hours later, the House also passed the measure by a vote of 285-144.
- Federal government re-opens immediately
- Government remains funded until Jan. 15, 2014
- Debt ceiling (government's ability to pay bills) raised, pushing deadline from Oct. 16, 2013 to Feb. 7, 2014
- A budget conference committee will try to work out long-term debt reduction until the Feb. 7 deadline
- Full reimbursement of back pay approved for furloughed federal workers
OBAMA: 'NO WINNERS'
The 11th-hour bill was signed into law 11:30 p.m. CT. The White House
immediately directed all federal agencies to reopen promptly, and urged
all furloughed workers to return on Thursday morning.
"There are no winners here," President Obama said Thursday morning. "The American people are completely fed up with Washington."
Obama added that he remains committed to working with Republicans to make progress on the budget.
After the shutdown, the president said he believes Congress still has time to address other key issues facing the nation, including immigration and the contentious farm bill, before year's end.
ONE SMALL CHANGE TO OBAMACARE
The bipartisan agreement makes just one small change to the Affordable Care Act. Individuals and families seeking government subsidies to purchase health care coverage must first verify their incomes before qualifying.
WHAT THE KEY PLAYERS SAID
"The eyes of the world have been on Washington all this week and that is a gross understatement. And while they witnessed a great deal of political discord today they will also see Congress reach a historic bipartisan agreement to reopen the government and avert a default on the nation's bills." - Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.)
"This is far less than many of us had hoped for frankly. But it's far better than what some had sought." – Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.)
"It is unfortunate that Washington is not listening to the people. Now I want to commend to House of Representatives. They've taken a bold stance listening to the American people, but unfortunately the U.S. Senate has refused to do likewise." – Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas)
87 HOUSE REPUBLICANS VOTE YES
Not a single Democrat in the House voted against the measure to reopen the government, and 87 Republican representatives also voted in favor of the fiscal deal. That still accounts for less than half of the GOP caucus, with 144 lawmakers casting votes opposing the compromise.
Of the Minnesota representatives in the House, Rep. Michele Bachmann was the only one to cast a nay vote on Wednesday night.
Passage in both houses of Congress allows President Obama to sign the bill into law ahead of the Thursday debt ceiling deadline set by Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.
Earlier on Wednesday, lawmakers appeared optimistic that the last-minute agreement would clear the Republican-controlled House. Hours before the vote, Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) told Fox 9 News that House Speaker John Boehner "has to have the votes."
"The Senate is going to show strong bipartisan support for this agreement," Klobuchar said. "It really came out of a group of six Democrats, six Republicans that said, ‘Enough of this. We have to find common ground.'"
MINNESOTA DELEGATE STATEMENTS
Rep. Betty McCollum (D-4th District): "I intend to vote today for the bipartisan Senate plan that puts federal employees back to work, protects American families from the catastrophic economic consequences of a default, and keeps ObamaCare intact. The end of this manufactured crisis, that has hurt so many people, is a victory for common-sense Democrats and Republicans who are willing to put our country ahead of political party. I commend President Obama, Senator Reid, and Leader Pelosi for their steadfast resolve and determination to carry out their constitutional responsibilities in the face of unprecedented congressional recklessness."
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-3rd District): "I'm disappointed in the process and hoped for a better outcome, including the repeal of the medical device tax. We need to reopen the government and avoid a national default. Washington needs to get serious about its spending problems and Congress must work together to earn back the trust of the American people."
Rep. Tim Walz (D-1st District): "This situation was completely avoidable and no one should be patting themselves on the back about doing the basic work of government: keeping it open and paying our bills on time. This reckless shutdown led by the Tea Party fringe accomplished nothing except damaging our reputation abroad, costing our economy billions, and hurting hardworking middle class Americans.
"Hopefully this experience will serve as a lesson to the Tea Party that shutting down the government and threatening world economic chaos is no way to conduct business or extract ideological concessions. The American people deserve solutions, not more reckless political games. We must end this cycle of manufactured crisis and get back to doing the work the people sent us here to do, like tackling the debt, creating jobs, growing our economy, and getting a long-term Farm Bill signed into law."
Sen. Al Franken: "I'm relieved that we are finally reopening the government and that we've let the world know that the U.S. will pay its bills on time. Now we must focus on the work we were sent here to do. I look forward to having a serious discussion about how we can continue to spur our economic recovery while addressing the long-term sustainability of our debt.
"Minnesotans are rightly frustrated with Washington, and I am too. I hope those Members of Congress who caused this shutdown learn that the American people don't want us to govern by lurching from crisis to crisis. I hope we are able to return to working on the issues we should be focused on: putting people back to work, educating our kids, and strengthening our economic recovery."
Sen. Amy Klobuchar: "Today the Senate came together on an agreement that will open the government, pay our bills on time, and set up a framework for a larger, long-term budget deal. I worked hard with a bipartisan group of senators to help forge a solution and put a stop to the political blame games that caused this crisis."
*additional statements will be added here as they are received