The deal includes a measure that allows Congress to vote on the debt-ceiling increase again on Feb. 7, Politico reports, although that move can be vetoed by the president. It also allows for furloughed workers to be paid, for proof of eligibility when asking for health insurance subsidies and for the Treasury to take “extraordinary measures” to pay its bills in February, should the need arise.
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama commended the Senate’s effort, indicating that he looked forward to signing the bill into law, the Associated Press reported.
(The Root) — The congressional deadlock could be nearing its end, with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) formally announcing a bipartisan deal on Wednesday that would end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 17. The bill has yet to be passed by the Senate and the House or to be signed by the president, so it will be a race against time as the Thursday debt-ceiling deadline draws closer.
However, even Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who has staunchly stood by the shutdown, has conceded. Though he made his dislike for the bill clear, he has said that he would not block a vote.
The news that a deal has been reached comes shortly after news broke that the House of Representatives might take the first vote on the Senate-prepared bill. If Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) allows the House to take the first stab, whether or not conservatives object, the House Democrats would have to pick up the slack in order for the critical vote to pass the lower chamber.
If the bill does pass the Republican-held House, it makes things easier on the Senate, knocking out certain routine protocols and requiring only one cloture vote before the bill could move on to final passage.
It is uncertain when the final vote would occur. It has to come within the next few hours and still be signed by President Barack Obama in order for the government to avoid defaulting on its debts, which could wield a devastating blow to the nation’s economy.
Just Tuesday, Fitch Ratings sent a warning to the United States by announcing that it was preparing for a potential U.S. credit-rating downgrade. The reason: political brinkmanship in Washington.
“Political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default,” Fitch said late Tuesday, according to the Washington Post. “The U.S. risks being forced to incur widespread delays of payments to suppliers and employees, as well as Social Security payments to citizens — all of which would damage the perception of U.S. sovereign creditworthiness and the economy.”