Congress Strikes Deal to End Government Shutdown, Raise Debt Ceiling

On Wednesday evening, the U.S. Senate voted 81 to 18 on a deal that would both reopen and fund the government through January 15, 2014 and also raise the debt ceiling through February 7.  Late into the night, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) led the U.S. House of Representatives in passing the agreement by a vote of 285 to 144, just before the widely accepted deadline of October 17 when the nation would default on its debt. The bill was signed into law by President Obama around midnight, and federal agencies re-opened with furloughed staff reinstated on October 17. 
IEC members working on federal projects that may have been impacted by the shutdown should receive notification from their contracting agency on the status of their work orders.

According to the deal, the government will be funded at an annualized rate of $986 billion through January 15, when the next round of sequester cuts are scheduled to take place as a result of the Budget Control Act that was enacted earlier this year. In the meantime, a bicameral Budget Conference Committee will have until December 13, 2013 to negotiate a budget agreement between still-pending House and Senate proposals for Fiscal Year 2014 in order to avoid another shutdown. Further, the agreement will increase the debt ceiling through February 7 and will allow the Treasury Department will retain the ability to use “extraordinary measures” to delay future debt defaults.
While Republicans did not succeed in their attempt to defund Obamacare in its entirety, they did receive some concessions from Democrats that will subject Obamacare subsidies to income verification in an effort to avoid fraud. There will be no further delays in implementation of the health care law, including a delay of the individual mandate which had been a cornerstone of Republicans’ demands.

Click here to see how your Senators voted, and here for your Representative.