US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have announced a deal to raise the nation’s debt ceiling and end the federal government shutdown.
Reid called the deal a “historic bipartisan agreement.” It will fund the government through mid-January and raise the debt ceiling through Feb. 7. It also will set up a budget conference on long-term fiscal issues that would end no later than Dec. 13.
The deal will also include an income-verification system for individuals and families receiving subsidies through the Affordable Care Act.
And in what was a key priority for the White House, the Treasury Department will still be able to use “extraordinary measures” to work around the debt ceiling in the case that it is not raised by Feb. 7.
“The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs,” Reid said on the Senate floor.
McConnell spoke in a more somber tone on the floor after Reid, but he also hailed the fact that the deal keeps in place the across-the-board spending cuts of the sequester.
“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],” McConnell said of the bill that came out of the 2011 debt-ceiling crisis.
“This is far less than many of us had hoped for. But it’s far better than what some had sought.
“Now it’s time for Republicans to unite behind our other crucial goals.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told reporters shortly after the deal was announced that he does not intend to delay passage of the Senate legislation.
He said that it’s a time for Republicans to announce “where they stand” on the Affordable Care Act, but that he never had any intention of delaying what has become inevitable.
“There’s nothing to be gained from delaying this vote one day or two days,” Cruz said.
House Speaker John Boehner is expected to let the Senate deal pass through the House with mostly Democratic votes.
It’s unclear at this point if the House will vote first, however, which would speed up the process by which a bill could get to President Barack Obama’s desk.
Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said a decision has not been made on how the bill will proceed through the chambers.
The White House applauded the Senate deal, and Press Secretary Jay Carney said that Obama commended both Reid and McConnell for working to forge an agreement.
But Carney didn’t say whether the White House expected a vote in both chambers Wednesday.
“We are not putting odds on anything,” Carney said.
He added that Obama expected Congress to “act swiftly.”
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