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President Signs Bill To Open Government, Avert Default

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todd-quinones-web Todd Quinones
Todd Quinones joined CBS 3 as a general assignment reporter in J...
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By Todd Quinones

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Just hours before the midnight deadline, a deal is struck.

The debt ceiling is raised and the government shutdown is over.

Bipartisan legislation is on its way to President Obama’s desk, and the President says he will sign it immediately.

This legislation calls for funding the government through Jan. 15, raising the debt limit until Feb. 7, and setting up a committee in the hopes of reaching a long-term budget deal.

The bill also makes one change to the health care law. Those seeking subsidies for coverage will have to verify their income.

CBS 3’s Todd Quinones with reaction from our local delegation, including one lawmaker who voted “no.”

All nine of our local political leaders were involved in this last minute deal. Some have called this a manufactured crisis that put people out of work and put our nation’s credit worthiness at risk. Only one senator in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Delaware voted against the deal.

With a last minute deal reached, President Barack Obama said he will immediately move to reopen the government.

“And we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and from the American people,” the President said.

Late Wednesday night, Congress approved the bipartisan deal reached in the Senate. CBS 3’s Todd Quinones spoke with Pennsylvania Republican Congressman Pat Meehan, who said he planned to vote for the deal.

“You have people angry at you on the right, you have people angry on the left, people are upset all around about the dysfunction in Washington, D.C.,” Meehan said.

South Jersey Democratic Congressman Rob Andrews argues the shutdown should have never happened.

“When we have disagreements in this country whether it’s over health care or any other issue, we do not shut the government down because we can’t get what we want,” Andrews said.

Senators took to the floor to vote on their last minute deal to avoid defaulting on the nation’s debt and to end the shutdown. The deal eventually passed 81 to 18.

“It’s very important I believe for both parties to get back to the focus which we should bring to bear on building a stronger middle class,” Sen. Bob Casey, (D-PA) said.

“This is a terrible deal and I urge my colleagues here to oppose it,” Sen. Ted Cruz, (R-Texas) said.

“Let’s be honest. This is pain inflicted on our nation for no good reason,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, (D-Nev.) said.

Republican Pennsylvania Senator Pat Toomey was one of 18 senators who voted against the deal.

CBS 3’s request to interview him was denied, but the Senator released the following statement:

“The one major redeeming aspect of this bill is that it reopens the government,” said Senator Toomey.  “I disagreed with the plan to make funding the government contingent on defunding Obamacare and I am glad this bill will get the shutdown behind us.  But I cannot support piling hundreds of billions of dollars of debt on current and future generations of Americans without even a sliver of reform to start putting our fiscal house in order.”

The House Wednesday night voted 285 to 144 to approve the deal which lifts the debt ceiling and opens the government for now.

Many say the vote kicked this whole issue down the road and question is, will we be right back here in a similar situation in just a few weeks?

Early Thursday, the President signed into law:

H.R. 2775, the “Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014,” which provides fiscal year 2014 appropriations for projects and activities of the Federal Government through Wednesday, January 15, 2014.  The effective time for the continuing resolution begins on October 1, 2013.  H.R. 2775 also extends the Nation’s debt limit through February 7, 2014.

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