After 16 days, 800,000 furloughed federal workers, and $24 billion lost, the Republican-run House of Representatives passed a Senate-proposed, bipartisan debt agreement that effectively raises the debt limit and ends the government shutdown.
Last night, President Barack Obama signed the bill that will immediately put furloughed federal employees back to work and kickstart dozens of federal programs. The bill passed the House with a 285-144 vote margin, where all Democrats and 87 Republicans voted yes, and passed the Senate with an 81-18 margin. Not surprisingly, the vote remained on strict party lines with only Republicans voting against the measure in each chamber of Congress.
Provisions of the bill include funding the government through January 15 and extending the Treasury Department’s borrowing until February 7. Also, furloughed workers will receive back pay for the time they missed work during the shutdown.
“We will begin reopening our government immediately,” said Obama upon signing the bill. “And we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and the American people.”
The bill is a loss for the GOP as each effort to push their own plan collapsed, one after another, notably the eleventh-hour plan that crashed Tuesday night. Some Republicans remain firm in their resistance to the Affordable Care Act and the new bill, drafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R.) Obviously, Sen. Ted Cruz had some choice words for his party’s defeat.
Cruz seemed to blame the GOP for buckling to the Democrats, saying that they didn’t “do enough to gut the president’s health care law.”
“This is a terrible deal today,” said Cruz. “This is a terrible deal for the American people.”
Although the House passed the temporary funding bill last night, the GOP shows no long-term plans of relenting on the efforts to combat the Affordable Care Act. Shortly after announcing the bill’s passage, House Speaker John Boehner made a statement:
The House has fought with everything it has to convince the president of the United States to engage in bipartisan negotiations aimed at addressing our country’s debt and providing fairness for the American people under ObamaCare.That fight will continue. But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by the members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.
Until then, Congress has until mid-December of this year to work out a long-term budget, as dictated by the Senate bill.