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Federal Shutdown Ends, For Now

October 17, 2013
After being shutdown for 16 days, a bipartisan deal passed late Wednesday that temporarily reopened the federal government and suspended the nation’s debt limit.
The deal, struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), passed the Senate floor 81-18 and the House by 285-144 vote (with 87 House Republicans voting in favor). President Barack Obama quickly signed the legislation, H.R. 2775, shortly after midnight early Thursday morning.

The 35-page continuing resolution reopens the government through Jan. 15, 2014 and raises the debt limit through Feb. 7, 2014. In the meantime, a bipartisan conference committee of budget negotiators will begin to meet this week to hammer out details of a broader more long-term budget plan. A deadline of Dec. 13 is set in the bill for the conference committee to report on its progress and hopefully produce a deal. There is potential for another federal shutdown in the event that a deal is not reached as Republican-led House budget members and Democratic-led Senate members continue to negotiate.   
Under the plan, the previous $986 billion federal funding spending limit is maintained; furloughed federal employees will receive retroactive back pay, and income level verification requirements for individuals requesting subsidies under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are imposed.      
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney stated upon passage that the President’s focus has shifted back to other pressing issues such as passing a bipartisan comprehensive immigration reform plan and bills related to farming subsidies, climate change issues, college affordability and reducing gun violence. He also reiterated the President’s commitment to ensuring the successful implementation of the federal ACA and addressing the consumer difficulties experienced due to website glitches.

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