US Senate votes to end shutdown, escape default

US Senate votes to end shutdown, escape default

Less than four hours before the midnight deadline, the United States' Senate voted 81-18 the legisation to end a 16-day government shutdown and avert a catastrophic debt default.

The bill will fund the government through January 15, 2014 and averts default through February 7, during which time it can work toward a long-term budget agreement that prevents these frequent crisis.

The US President, Barack Obama, said he would sign the legislation immediately after it is passed by the House of Representatives.

"The Senate has now voted to approve this agreement, and Democrats and Republicans in the House still have an important vote to take, but I want to thank the leaders of both parties for getting us to this point. Once this agreement arrives on my desk, I will sign it immediately," Obama told reporters at the White House.

He said the US will start reopening the government right away.

"We'll begin reopening our government immediately, and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and from the American people," he said.The US President said he has got some thoughts about how they can move forward in the remainder of the year, stay focused on the job at hand and win the trust of Americans lost during the crisis.

"Because there is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks. And we can begin to do that by addressing the real issues that they care about," he said.

Obama said he is willing to work with anybody.

"I am eager to work with anybody -- Democrat or Republican, House or Senate members -- on any idea that will grow our economy, create new jobs, strengthen the middle class, and get our fiscal house in order for the long term," he said.

"I've never believed that Democrats have a monopoly on good ideas. And despite the differences over the issue of shutting down our government, I'm convinced that Democrats and Republicans can work together to make progress for America," said the US President.

Obama said once these issues are resolved, he would like to move forward on immigration and farm legislation.

"In fact, there are things that we know will help strengthen our economy that we could get done before this year is out. We still need to pass a law to fix our broken immigration system. We still need to pass a farm bill.

And with the shutdown behind us and budget committees forming, we now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair, and that helps hardworking people all across this country," Obama said.

The Treasury Secretary, Jacob Lew, welcomed the bipartisan action Congress is taking to re-open the government, and lift the cloud of uncertainty hanging over the economy.

"Over 224 years, the United States has established our credit as the strongest in the world. The United States is the anchor of the international financial system and the world's reserve currency.  We are the world's largest economy with the deepest and most liquid financial markets," he said.

"When risk rises, the flight to safety and to quality brings investors to US markets. Because of today's efforts, we will continue to honor all of our commitments – a core American value – and preserve the full faith and credit of the United States," Lew said.
"America is open for business once again," Senator Ben Cardin, said.

The legislation, now to be voted by the House, also provide back pay for federal workers, and allow for long-term negotiations on federal budget.
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