US President Barack Obama has eventually signed a bill, brokered by Democratic leaders, into law that would end a 16-day federal government shutdown and extend the nation’s debt ceiling deadline for a short time.
The bill, which was ratified in the Senate and the House of Representatives just hours before October 17 deadline of debt limit, comes after lengthy negotiations between Democrats and Republicans in Congress.
The legislation would fund the government until January 15 and authorize the Treasury to borrow more money repealing the previously set ceiling of $16.7 trillion until February 7.
Late Wednesday, President Obama said, “I will sign it immediately… We’ll begin reopening our government immediately.”
The government closed down many of its operations on October 1 after the two houses in Congress failed to agree a budget, affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers.
Now the workers should expect to return to work Thursday morning, the director of the Office of Management and Budget said Wednesday night, just a few hours before the president signed the bill.
“Now that the bill has passed the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, the president plans to sign it tonight and employees should expect to return to work in the morning,” said Sylvia Mathews Burwell. “Employees should be checking the news and OPM’s (Office of Personnel Management’s) website for further updates.”
Yosemite National Park, which, among other national parks, had been forced to shut down, said it was already resuming operations Wednesday night.
Though the Republican-led House gave the final stamp of approval to the Senate-brokered bill, it was not the GOP that made it happen as 144 of the party’s representatives voted against the measure.
A major bone of contention between the two major parties, which led to the government shutdown and put the country on the brink of a default, was Obama’s signature Affordable Care Act, widely known as Obamacare, which Republicans were seeking to defund or delay – a controversial demand not yet materialized.