Republicans Concede Defeat as Senate Leaders Strike Deal to Raise Debt Ceiling and Reopen the Government
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Reuters and other news outlets are reporting that the Senate leaders Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have reached a down-to-the-wire deal to raise the debt ceiling—and avert an historic, and, most commentators agree, catastrophic default—and reopen the government. The Republican-led House is set to vote on it and it is reportedly expected to pass with mostly Democratic votes.
According to Reuters:
The deal would extend U.S. borrowing authority until February 7, although the Treasury Department would have tools to temporarily extend its borrowing capacity beyond that date if Congress failed to act early next year.
The agreement also would fund government agencies until January 15, ending a partial government shutdown that began with the new fiscal year on October 1.
Most news outlets agree that both the shut down and reaching the brink of default dealt severe political damage to the fractured Republican Party. Among those potentially damaged: Ted Cruz, who instigated the shut down over Obamacare, and Speaker John Boehner, who caved to Tea Party demands.
Again, according to Reuters:
The moves were a bruising political defeat for Republican conservatives who had demanded changes to President Barack Obama's healthcare law before they would agree to fund the government.
It was unclear if Boehner's leadership position will be at risk in the political fallout, but opinion polls show Republicans have taken a political beating in the showdown as they head into next year's congressional elections.
And Republican Senator Lindsey Graham admitted to Reuters: "This has been a very bad two weeks for the Republican brand, conservatism."
It isn't over quite yet. The timing of the vote to pass the deal was still unclear at press time. The U.S. Treasury has said it will hit a 16.7 billion borrowing limit Thursday. If that deadline is passed, officials have warned of catastophic economic consequences in this country and beyond.
And if the deal is passed, another budget fight looms in a few short months.
Still, according to Reuters, it is a win for a Obama.
The deal between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Republican leader Mitch McConnell gives Obama what he had demanded for months: A straightforward debt limit hike and government funding bill.