(Washington, DC) -- Legislation ending the government shutdown and averting a debt crisis is on its way to the White House after passage by the Senate and House. The bipartisan bill to end the impasse was crafted by Senate leaders and endorsed by President Obama. It ends the partial shutdown of the federal government, funding government operations through mid-January. The measure also extends the federal debt limit into early February.
The U.S. government faced the prospect of default for the first time in history without a deal to increase the nearly 17-trillion dollar debt ceiling. The partial shutdown started October 1st after Congress failed to extend government funding past the end of the 2013 fiscal year. The overall bill includes retroactive pay for furloughed government employees. It also requires formation of a joint Senate-House committee to negotiate spending issues beyond mid-January.
The bipartisan deal represents a bitter defeat for conservative Republicans who crafted a strategy around the impasse that was aimed at defunding, delaying or otherwise hindering the healthcare reform law. The only Obamacare provision in the final bill requires verification of incomes for those seeking government subsidies under the healthcare law. Utah Republican Senator Mike Lee vowed to continue the fight against Obamacare. He said it is "not over."
In a statement, GOP House Speaker John Boehner also vowed to continue efforts to hamper the implementation of Obamacare. He called the healthcare law a "train wreck." Meantime, in a radio interview, Boehner said House Republicans "fought the good fight" but didn't win. Boehner made no remarks in the final House debate. Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz called the bipartisan bill a "terrible deal." New York Democrat Chuck Schumer said the shutdown and flirtation with default harmed the U.S. economy. Earlier, White House spokesman Jay Carney called the impasse an unnecessary and "manufactured crisis."