Congress passes debt deal


WASHINGTON –– The United States Congress has passed a bill to reopen the government and raise the federal debt limit, with hours to spare before the nation risked default. The Democrat-controlled Senate passed the measure by 81 votes to 18, and the Republican-controlled House of Representatives by 285 votes to 144.

Despite reluctant support from the House Republican leadership, most of the party’s lawmakers voted against it. It came hours before the deadline to raise the US$16.7 trillion (BDS$33.4 trillion) limit.

The bill yanked the United States back from the brink of a budgetary abyss by extending the treasury’s borrowing authority until February 7.

It also funds the government to January 15, reopening closed federal agencies after 16 days of partial government shutdown and bringing hundreds of thousands of employees back to work.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law early this morning.

Following the deal, shares in Tokyo closed higher, while in Europe they fell slightly in early trading. The White House budget office said federal workers would return to work from today.

The deal, however, offers only a temporary solution and does not resolve the budgetary issues that fiercely divide Republicans and Democrats. (BBC) 

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