Sixteen days after a federal government shutdown began and one day before the United States would have exhausted its ability to borrow money, Congress approved a bill to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7. President Obama has promised to sign the legislation immediately, meaning hundreds of thousands of federal workers could be back at work Thursday.
By a vote of 81 to 18, the Senate sent the 35-page bill to the House of Representatives, where it was approved 285-144 just a little over two hours later. All 198 Democrats present in the House voted yes, and 87 Republicans voted yes. All 144 no votes were Republicans.
“We fought the good fight; we just didn’t win,” House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in an interview with conservative radio host Bill Cunningham.
At the White House, Obama hailed the Senate’s deal. “Once this agreement arrives on my desk I will sign it immediately and we will begin reopening the government immediately, and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and the and the American people.”
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