UPDATE: President Obama has signed the bill to end the government shutdown and hike the debt ceiling, CNN reports. The partial government shutdown has ended.
National media, including the Washington Post and Associated Press, are reporting that Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) announced a bipartisan deal on Wednesday to raise the debt limit through Feb. 7 and end the controversial 16-day-old government shutdown.
The government shutdown was opposed by many travel industry groups, including the U.S. Travel Association, who warned of the impact on the travel industry and the U.S. economy. The closing of national parks was one major souce of ciontroversy.
The legislation must be passed by both the Senate and the House of Representatives, and signed by the president, but it is unclear (As of 1 PM Eastern Wednesday ) if action can be taken before the Treasury Department runs out of its borrowing power on Thursday.
The Senate agreement is said to avoid any major concessions on Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, according to the Washington Post. But passage of the bill would mean that the federal government can reopen, and hundreds of thousands of federal employees can return to work. It also means that the Treasury can continue to borrow money in order to pay the government’s bills.
"This legislation ends a standoff that ground the work of Washington to a halt,” Senator Reid said. He urged Senate colleagues to focus on reconciliation rather than blame, according to the Post. “What we’ve done is send a message to Americans … and in addition to that, to the citizens of every country in the world, that the United States lives up to its obligations.”
According to reports, in addition to lifting the $16.7 trillion debt limit, the emerging measure would fund the government through January 15, delaying the next threat of a shutdown until after the holidays. It would also set up a conference committee to hammer out broader budget issues, such as whether to replace cuts to agency budgets known as the sequester with other savings.
Additional details of the Senate agreement - and the action needed by the House - are expected today.