U.S. Lawmakers Avoid Default, Reopen Government
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the plan to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling at about 10:20 p.m. Wednesday.
At a news conference shortly before that, north country Congressman Bill Owens said he's glad an agreement has been reached, even though it's a temporary fix.
"I'm delighted that this process is over, at least temporarily," Owens said. "I think it should have happened 16 to 20 days ago, rather than getting us here.
In a written statement released early Thursday morning, Owens said “I am pleased with this bipartisan, responsible deal to reopen the government and pay our bills.”
“Americans deserve better than the last 16 days," the statement continued, "and I will work with members of both parties to come up with a rational path forward that ends managing by crisis, grows the economy, creates jobs, and reduces the debt and deficit.”
The plan first made it through the Senate with an overwhelming majority.
Even though the deal's been done, the lines are still split.
"We have finally achieved our goal," said Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.). "The same place where we started, but at a cost."
"This deal kicks the can down the road," said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas). "It allows yet more debt, more deficits, and more spending."
In a statement praising the deal, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said, "I'm relieved we have a bipartisan deal to avoid default and reopen the federal government.
"Now Congress must refocus on creating jobs and growing the economy for the American people," Gillibrand said.
The measure restores funding for the government through January 15 and extends the nation's borrowing authority through February 7.
The partial government shutdown started Oct. 1. The U.S. was to reach its debt limit Thursday if no deal was reached.
President Barack Obama signed the measure early Thursday, ending a brawl with Republicans who tried to use the must-pass legislation to mount a last-ditch effort to derail Obama's landmark health care law and demand concessions on the budget.
The impasse had shuttered national parks and mostly closed down NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. Critical government functions went on as usual, but the closure and potential default weighed on the economy and spooked financial markets.
Standard & Poor's estimated the shutdown has taken $24 billion out of the economy.
Following is a written statement from Owens that was released early Thursday morning:
Wednesday, December 7, 2016, Watertown, NY
On Wall Street