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The Shutdown Is Over

By: Associated Press Email
By: Associated Press Email
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Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama says now that the shutdown is over, leaders in Washington should focus on a budget, immigration reform and a farm bill.

Obama laid out his agenda the morning after signing a bill reopening the government and averting a default.

He says the first focus should be on reaching a budget agreement. Congressional negotiators starting discussing that issue Thursday.

Obama says both parties should pursue a budget that lowers deficits, invests in education and infrastructure, cuts unnecessary spending and closes corporate loopholes.

Obama also says Congress should finish an immigration bill by the end of the year. An overhaul passed the Senate but stalled in the House.

Obama's third priority is to pass an overdue farm bill. The House and Senate are at odds on that issue, too.


Associated Press Release
By JOSH LEDERMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is directing all government agencies to reopen promptly now that the partial government shutdown has ended.

President Barack Obama signed a measure early Thursday reopening the government and extending the nation's borrowing authority.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, says all furloughed workers should return to work on their next scheduled work day. For most workers, that's Thursday morning.

Burwell says the administration will work with agencies to transition back to full operating status as smoothly as possible. She's thanking federal employees for continuing to serve the American people.

Hundreds of thousands of workers have been furloughed since the shutdown started Oct. 1. The measure Obama signed restores government funding through Jan. 15 and extends the borrowing authority through Feb. 7.


Associated Press Release
12:25am

WASHINGTON (AP) -- White House tells agencies to reopen promptly; all furloughed workers may return to work.


Associated Press Release
12:03am

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Obama signs measure averting default on debt, ending partial government shutdown.


Associated Press Release
10:23pm

WASHINGTON (AP) -- White House budget office says federal workers should plan to return to work Thursday morning.


Associated Press Release
9:40pm

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Congress approves and sends to Obama bill to reopen government, avoid default.


CBS News Tweet

9:20pm
@CBSNews: House votes 285-144 to approve bill to end fiscal crisis


CBS News Tweet

9:18 pm
@CBSNews: JUST IN House approves bill to end fiscal crisis; it now heads to president's desk


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate has voted to avoid a financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown.

The vote was 81-18 Wednesday night. The measure now heads to the House, which is expected to back the bill before day's end.

Senate passage came several hours after Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the bipartisan compromise.

The bill would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer.

Congress faced a deadline of 11:59 p.m. on Thursday. That's when Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew had said the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit and could no longer borrow to meet its obligations.


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House is urging quick congressional approval of a deal to raise the debt ceiling and end the partial government shutdown.

White House spokesman Jay Carney says the deal reached by Senate leaders "achieves what's necessary" to reopen the government, remove the threat of default and move past brinksmanship.

Carney says the agreement is bipartisan and that President Barack Obama is looking for Congress to act so he can sign it and remove the threat to the economy.

Obama's spokesman is praising Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell for working together.

Reid announced the deal at the start of Wednesday's Senate session.

The agreement would reopen the government through Jan. 15 and increase the nation's borrowing authority through Feb. 7.


Associated Press Release
By DONNA CASSATA

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Republican senator says she understands Senate leaders have reached an agreement to avoid a Treasury default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown.

Sen. Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire made her comments Wednesday as she walked into a meeting of Senate Republicans in leader Mitch McConnell's office.

Ayotte said the leaders would make a formal announcement.

The government would reopen through Jan. 15 and Treasury would be allowed to increase the nation's borrowing authority through Feb. 7.


CBS News Web Copy

Attempts to craft a deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt limit fell apart in the Republican-led House Tuesday evening, after the latest Republican proposal seemingly failed to garner sufficient support. The House shelved the vote it was aiming for, leaving Senate leaders to figure out a last-ditch solution.

By Thursday, if Congress hasn't raised the nation's debt limit, the Treasury will have exhausted its borrowing authority and will be relying on limited cash reserves to pay off the nation's debt. It won't necessarily happen at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday, and it may take a few days or even weeks for the world to feel the full impact of such an unprecedented state of economic uncertainty.

Still, the White House is furiously trying to drive home the point that Congress needs to raise the debt limit as soon as possible.

"Every day that we get closer to the point beyond which we've never been, which is where the United States does not have borrowing authority, creates more trouble for our economy and uncertainty globally, which has a negative impact on our economy," White House spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.

"The deadline for avoiding uncertainty has passed" already, he added.

Indeed, the global rating agency Fitch said Tuesday that the United States' AAA credit rating is now under review for a downgrade.

"Although Fitch continues to believe that the debt ceiling will be raised soon, the political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default," the firm said in a statement.

The statement also said, however, that "even if the debt limit is not raised before or shortly after 17 October, we assume there is sufficient political will and capacity to ensure that Treasury securities will continue to be honoured in full and on time."

A BofA Merrill Lynch interest rate strategist reportedly wrote in a note to clients that the Treasury Department can effectively run on fumes until Nov. 15 before it actually has to default on its loans.

That kind of leeway -- the fact that there's not a hard deadline before calamity hits -- has contributed to the intransigence in Congress. Rep. Mick Mulvaney, R-S.C., for instance, has suggested President Obama is lying about the threat of default that comes with breaching the Oct. 17 deadline, arguing that the Treasury Department could prioritize interest payments over other obligations (even though it would be illegal for the department to make that decision and practically untenable).

"We're not going to default; there is no default," Mulvaney said. "If the president wants to lie to the public, I can't stop him."

So while downplaying the consequences of breaching the Oct. 17 deadline, House Republicans have kept up their demands to tinker with Obamacare before raising the debt limit or reopening the government.

If the debt limit isn't increased before the Treasury Department depletes its cash balance, according to a Goldman Sachs report, there could be a "rapid downturn in economic activity." The firm estimates that after just a month of breaching the debt limit, there would be a 4.2 percent drop in annualized GDP. Most predict that unemployment would rise, interest rates would soar and the world economy would suffer.

"There is nobody in this field who understands how financial markets work and understands what the impact of default would be on the global economy who accepts the absurd position taken by the debt limit or default deniers," Carney said Tuesday. "This is a serious matter."

Carney rejected the idea that a delay of a few days in catastrophic consequences could undermine the administration's warnings.

"What's a risk is even flirting with the idea that we should try to wait until the very last moment before a bill comes due that we can't pay," he said. "This is what some Republicans on Capitol Hill seem to be conveying -- that we can cross that threshold and just hope that we can resolve this before we have to delay a payment."

He continued, "Already, once you get to that deadline, you've entered territory that we've never entered before. And that sends a signal, I think, globally that there is uncertainty about the fidelity here in the United States to the principle that we always pay our bills on time. And that is why this line has never been crossed."


CBS News Web Copy

Updated 7:30 p.m. ET

A House plan to reopen the government and extend the U.S. borrowing authority while making some modifications to the health care law will not come up for a vote, a GOP leadership aide told CBS News, after the Republican-led body struggled to muster adequate votes. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., have subsequently resumed negotiations, and spokesmen for the two on Tuesday evening said they are "optimistic that an agreement is within reach."'

The news comes just one day before the U.S. will have exhausted its borrowing authority and the government is in its fifteenth day of a partial government shutdown.

House Republican leaders announced Tuesday their intent to counter the Senate's proposal with a plan that would have lifted the debt ceiling through Feb. 7 and funded the government through Dec. 15. The Senate plan proposed to reopen the government through Jan. 15, but two provisions of the Affordable Care Act - the individual mandate and a requirement that employers provide contraception coverage - take effect on Jan. 1. By forcing budget negotiations to conclude before the end of the year, Republicans can still try to fight those two provisions.

The House plan would not have repealed a medical device tax for two years, which appeared to be a part of negotiations Monday morning, nor would it have adopted a Senate provision that would delay for one year a special tax of $63 on all health insurance plans to help spread out the costs of giving insurance to the most ill Americans for the first time. But it would have barred elected officials and staff in Washington, D.C. from receiving subsidies to buy health care on the exchanges, and it would bar the Treasury Department from using so-called "extraordinary measures" to extend to allow the government to manage its cash in such a way that it can keep paying bills for a period of time once the U.S. legally hits its cap on spending.

A Democratic aide told CBS News that extraordinary measures provision is a "poison pill" for Democrats. "They want to put on a prohibition on the treasury secretary and the president to use extraordinary means to stave off a default. No president or any secretary of the treasury has been constrained in that way. It is not a good thing," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told Bloomberg News.

After a meeting at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, Pelosi told reporters that the emerging contours of the House plan were unacceptable to Democrats.

"If it is as it has been described they will have to do that with 100 percent Republican votes," she warned. "The bill that the Republicans are putting on the floor today is a decision to default. Now once they get over that, then we'll see what they send to the floor."

As the maneuvering continued Tuesday afternoon, the global rating agency Fitch said Tuesday that the United States' AAA credit rating is now under review for a downgrade.

"Although Fitch continues to believe that the debt ceiling will be raised soon, the political brinkmanship and reduced financing flexibility could increase the risk of a U.S. default," the firm said in a statement.

The statement also said, however, that "even if the debt limit is not raised before or shortly after 17 October, we assume there is sufficient political will and capacity to ensure that Treasury securities will continue to be honoured in full and on time."

In response, a Treasury spokesperson said, "The announcement reflects the urgency with which Congress should act to remove the threat of default hanging over the economy."

The Senate plan that had been discussed Monday was put on hold Tuesday afternoon by McConnell, in order to see if House Republicans could pass a plan first. Now that they haven't, a senior aide to McConnell predicted Tuesday to CBS News, the Reid-McConnell plan could become much more attractive to Senate conservatives.

Pressure is rising on Republicans as their poll numbers have grown worse with every day of the government shutdown. A new ABC News/Washington Post poll released Monday found that a new high of 74 percent of Americans disapprove of their handling of the budget crisis, up 11 points from a poll before the shutdown began. Only 53 percent of people surveyed disapprove of how President Obama has handled the situation, and 61 percent for Senate Democrats.

© 2013 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Associated Press Release

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Senate's Democratic and Republican leaders appear to be closing in on a deal to avoid an economy-rattling Treasury default and end the two-week partial government shutdown.

After an intense day of negotiations with Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell and other lawmakers, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid declared: "We've made tremendous progress," adding "Perhaps tomorrow will be a bright day."

McConnell also voiced optimism, although not as much as Reid.

Officials says in the discussion to date, the $16.7 trillion federal debt limit would be raised enough to permit the Treasury to borrow normally until mid-February, if not a few weeks longer. The government would reopen with enough money to operate until mid-January at levels set previously, and agencies would be given flexibility in adjusting to reduced funding levels imposed by across-the-board spending cuts.

However, the officials caution the details could change, and there's even more uncertainty about other elements of a possible deal.


Associated Press Release

By JOSH LEDERMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) -- The White House says a meeting between Obama and congressional leaders has been postponed to give Senate leaders more time to resolve a standoff over the nation's debt and the partial government shutdown.

Obama was scheduled to meet Monday afternoon at the White House with the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate. A new day or time for the meeting wasn't announced.

The delay comes as all sides are expressing optimism that they are getting closer to an agreement to end the two-week partial shutdown and avert a potential default on the U.S. debt.

The last meeting between Obama and the congressional leaders was Oct. 2.


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