Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) have struck a deal to effectively raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7 and end the government shutdown, The Washington Post reported on Wednesday. Before the ceiling is raised and the government reopened, the bill must pass Congress and President Obama’s desk.
The deal is a major win for Democrats as the Affordable Care Act remains wholly untouched without any large-scale changes. The Washington Post reported that despite the optimism that seems to surround the deal, “the bill’s timeline sets up another potentially bitter showdown over spending cuts and entitlement programs that will unfold in the halls of Congress over the next four months.”
A temporary measure, the bill would keep the government funded through January 15, eliminating the Democrats concern of there being a shutdown through this year’s holiday season, as well as raising the country’s $16.7 billion debt limit.
“After weeks spent facing off across a partisan divide that often seemed too wide to cross, our country came to the brink of a disaster,” said Senate Majority Leader Reid. “But in the end, political adversaries set aside their differences and disagreements. What we’ve done is send a message to Americans . . . that the United States lives up to its obligations.”
Despite the agreement between Reid and McConnell, Republicans still seek to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. “Republicans remain determined to repeal this terrible law,” said McConnell. “But for today – for today – the relief we hope for is to reopen the government, avoid default and protect the historic cuts we achieved under the Budget Control Act.”
Despite speculated expectation that he would try to block the deal in the Senate, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said, after Reid and McConnell’s announcement, that he will not attempt a block. Oddly, Cruz read reports that lawmakers asked him to back out and not try to block the bill’s passage, but noted “No one from Republican leadership leadership had ever asked if I intended to delay this vote.”
The Democrats claimed that there is enough GOP support of the bill to enable its passage through Congress. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pledged all 200 House Democrats’ support, which means only 17 Republican votes are needed to pass the House. And, of course, the Senate is lock for the bill’s passage.