Deal At The Capitol: Shutdown Standoff May Be Ending

  • ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the bipartisan Senate deal on the Senate floor just after noon today.

    “This compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs,” Reid said.

    “This has been a long challenging few weeks for Congress and for the country. It’s my hope that today we can put some of the most urgent issues behind us,” McConnell said. “After yesterday’s events, the Majority Leader and I began a series of conversations about a way to get the government re-opened and prevent default. I’m confident we’ll be able to begin to do both those things later today.”

    Multiple senators emerging from the Senate Republican conference meeting told ABC News they believe a vote will occur today and it will originate in the Senate.
  • ABC’s CHRIS GOOD: The Senate will vote first on its deal, according to a GOP senator who attended his conference's hour-plus meeting today. "I think that's right, yeah," Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said when asked.
  • Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., spoke to reporters earlier this hour. He said he has no intention of delaying the delay timing of vote.

    "I've never had any intention of delaying the timing of this vote," Cruz said, adding that Republican leaders "never asked" if he would do so. But Cruz railed against the deal that had been cut between Senate leader, but vowed, "this debate and this fight will continue in the months ahead."

    Cruz added, "The Senate chose not to follow the House and in particular we saw real division among Senate Republicans, that was unfortunate.


  • TEA PARTY GROUP CALLS SENATE DEAL ‘A COMPLETE SELLOUT’

    ABC’s RICK KLEIN: I’d expect plenty of tea party groups to echo this sentiment from Jenny Beth Martin, National Coordinator for Tea Party Patriots:

    “The Ruling Elites in Washington, D.C. have completely abandoned the American people. The deal cut in the Senate does NOT protect the American people from this unfair and unworkable law. The Senate deal is a complete sellout. Speaker Boehner and the House should stand firm and reject this deal to reign in the Executive branch’s power before it is too late. The House ‘Leadership’ must stop playing ‘flinch’ with themselves, and instead, play hardball with the White House, the Senate, and the House. Otherwise, hard-working Americans are going to bear the burden of this unaffordable law. The American people WILL hold those responsible for this mess accountable.”


  • ABC’s MARY BRUCE: President Obama supports the bipartisan Senate deal to reopen the government and raise the debt limit and hopes to sign it into law, the White House said today.

    “The president believes that the bipartisan agreement announced by the leaders of the United States Senate will reopen the government and remove the threat of economic brinksmanship that has already harmed middle-class families, American businesses and our country's economic standing in the world,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters. “The president applauds Leader Reid and Minority Leader McConnell for working together to forge this compromise and encourages the Congress to act swiftly to end this shutdown and protect the full faith and credit of the United States of America.”
  • White House Press Secretary Jay Carney was asked by ABC’s JONATHAN KARL if the agreement represents a win for the White House. “There are no winners here,” he said.
  • ABC’s CHRIS GOOD: Speaker Boehner and the House Republican Conference will meet behind closed doors at 3 p.m. to provide his members with an update on the way forward.
  • CRUZ: ‘THIS DEBATE WILL CONTINUE’

    ABC’s CHRIS GOOD: Speaking earlier today, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., warned, “This fight, this debate will continue until collectively the American people can make D.C. listen, can get real relief for all of the people who are hurt because of ‘Obamacare.’”

    Cruz added, “if the American people continue to rise up, I believe the House will continue to listen to the American people, and I hope, in time, the Senate begins to listen to the American people also”


  • ABC’s TOM GIUSTO: A small group of religious leaders held a “Faithful Filibuster” at sunrise at the U.S. Capitol today to pray that lawmakers come to agreement on a deal that reopens the government, avoids default and protects the needs of America’s poor.

    Jim Wallis, founder of the Christian community Sojourners, is frustrated. “The words from the Capitol this week make me ache. They really make me ache,” he said. Wallis has been at the Capitol every day for a week and said he’s hurting inside: “The words from politicians and pundits make me ache. We've lost the common good.”

    Rev. Gary Cook of Bread for the World said he believed the government was shirking its responsibility to care for the needy. “We continue to pray for our leaders and to publicly and privately remind them that they should, as scripture explicitly says, defend the cause of the poor,” he said.

    A sentiment echoed by Wallis and the others. “The God of this Bible says the last shall be first and the first shall be last,” Wallis said. “And that is completely opposite of all the words that I hear in this place.”


  • ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: A Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me that the Senate will likely act first on the bipartisan agreement struck by Senator Reid and Senator McConnell. The Senate will likely vote in the late afternoon or early evening, but exact timing remains unknown.


  • In a statement, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., says he will not vote for the proposal brokered by Senate leaders to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.

    “I cannot support this deal because it postpones any significant action on pro-growth and spending reforms and does nothing to provide working class Americans even one shred of relief from ObamaCare’s harmful effects. Until we tackle the real threats to the American Dream, we are going to continue finding ourselves in these kinds of messes. America is better than this, and the American people deserve better.”
  • BOEHNER: REPUBLICANS ‘FOUGHT THE GOOD FIGHT’

    ABC’s STEVEN PORTNOY: In an interview with ABC affiliate WLW-AM in his hometown of Cincinnati today, House Speaker John Boehner said he “absolutely” will put the Senate bill on the House floor, and there’s “no reason” for Republicans to vote against it.

    Heading into his closed-door GOP caucus, Boehner told WLW-AM’s Bill Cunningham that Republicans “fought the good fight.”

    “Well, listen, we’ve been locked in a fight over here trying to bring government down to size, trying to do our best to stop Obamacare,” Boehner said. “We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win.”

    “We did everything we could to get them to the table to negotiate, they just kept saying no. No, no, no. So we fought the good fight. There’s no reason for our members to vote no today.”

    Bohener said there’s “really no reason” the government shouldn’t re-open tomorrow. As for whether he has ill-feelings toward Sen. Ted Cruz, Boehner said, “Because we’re Republicans, we’re a little bit more independent-minded than our friends across the aisle. Some of us are a little bit more independent-minded than others.”
  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., released this statement on the Senate’s agreement:

    “This isn’t a day for happiness or exaltation. We spent two weeks risking extreme danger merely to end up right where we started: opening the government, paying our bills, and negotiating a budget. If there is a silver lining in this cloud, it’s that hopefully this debacle means that the power of those that favor confrontation has peaked and we can start legislating again, in a bipartisan way, without this dangerous brinksmanship.”
  • LEON PANETTA WELCOME THE END OF ‘A SHAMEFUL AND TRAGIC PERIOD’

    ABC’s NICKI ROSSOLL: In the wake of a deal from the Senate to temporarily raise the debt limit and end the 16-day-old government shutdown, the Campaign to Fix the Debt, a non-partisan group whose mission is to put “America on a better fiscal and economic path,” held a press conference focusing on a long-term agreement to lower the national debt.

    Leon Panetta, former Defense Secretary and CIA Director, spoke at today’s event at the National Press Club in Washington DC and said that “our hope is that, later today with the actions by both the House and Senate, that they can bring both a shameful and tragic period in our history to an end.”

    The former House Budget Committee chairman and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, reflected on his experiences during the last government shutdown, 17 years ago, and outlined two lessons he learned. “One, you don’t take steps to hurt the American people, innocent American people by shutting down the government,” Panetta said. The second lesson: “It is better to govern than create gridlock.”

    The former Defense Secretary added, “my hope is that everyone learns the second lesson, that it’s time to govern, to roll up their sleeves and get to work.” The way to do that, Panetta said, is for lawmakers to concentrate on the budget conference that is part of the Senate deal.

    “If this is going to work, then the members up there that have been beating each other up and engaging in a sound bite war, need to put all that aside and be truthful with one and other,” Panetta said. “That’s a big step, and I can’t say it’s going to happen.”
  • ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: Back pay for furloughed federal workers will be part of the deal voted on in the Senate and House tonight, a Senate Democratic aide says. The House approved back pay for furloughed federal workers earlier this month, but the Senate never voted on the measure.
  • THE HOUSE’S MAGIC NUMBER: 216

    ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON: Currently the total number of members of the U.S. House of Representatives is 432, with three vacant seats created by Ed Markey (now a U.S. senator), Jo Bonner (retired) and Rodney Alexander (retired).

    But at least one other member (Rep. Carolyn McCarthy) will definitely miss the vote today, lowering the magic number to pass a bill to 216. McCarthy has been battling lung cancer, and has missed many votes over the past few weeks.

    “She will not be here today, unfortunately,” McCarthy chief of staff Stuart Chapman told ABC News. “She's just finishing up her treatments, and should be back in short order.”

    Rep. C.W. Bill Young, R-Fla., has also spent time recovering from a back injury at Walter Reed, but his chief of staff has not responded to inquiries about whether he will come back to vote on a final deal. Even if he misses the vote too, the magic number is still 216.


  • CRUZ ON ‘WHERE THIS WENT OFF TRACK’

    ABC’s STEVEN PORTNOY: Repeating much of what he said at the Ohio Clock this morning, Ted Cruz told radio host Mark Levin tonight that conservatives have accomplished something “extraordinary.”

    Cruz says while “official Washington scoffed,” millions of Americans rose up in opposition to Obamacare. “It was an incredible victory,” Cruz told Levin.

    “Where this went off track is when it came to the Senate and Senate Republicans didn’t stand united alongside House Republicans. Senate Republicans instead divided in half and started going on television, going on radio, going everywhere blasting House Republicans saying we cannot win, this will fail,” Cruz said. “When you’ve got half the Senate Republican caucus firing their cannons at the House Republicans, it sabotages the effort.”


  • ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., praised Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for negotiating with Democrats.

    “I would also like to salute the republican leader, Senator McConnell. We all know he has a difficult political situation. We all know it would have been easier for him to duck,” Schumer said on the Senate floor tonight. “Leader McConnell stepped up for the good of the nation.”


  • The final vote on the shutdown and debt limit deal in the U.S. Senate is underway now.


  • The Senate has passed the compromise bill by a vote of 81 to 18, reflecting large bipartisan support. The deal now heads to the House, where a vote is expected in the next hour or two.


  • OBAMA: ‘A LOT OF WORK AHEAD’

    ABC’s ABBY PHILLIP: President Obama praised congressional leaders for their compromise to reopen the government and raise the debt ceiling -- and said he would sign it immediately if it wins approval in the House of Representatives later tonight.

    "There a lot of work ahead of us, including the need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost of the last few weeks," Obama said in the White House briefing room just minutes after the Senate voted to approve the compromise legislation.


  • WE INTERRUPT TONIGHT’S DRAMA ON CAPITOL HILL…

    ABC’s SHUSHANNAH WALSHE: After a sped-up race for U.S. Senate, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, a Democrat, beat Republican Steve Lonegan, a tea party conservative and former mayor of Bogota, N.J., according to the Associated Press.

    With 41 percent of precincts reporting, the AP called the race with Booker besting Lonegan 55 percent to 44 percent.

    He prevailed after an unusual four-month race to fill the Senate seat vacated by the death of Sen. Frank Lautenberg, a fellow Democrat, in June. Booker, 44, will serve out the last 15 months of Lautenberg’s term, and will need to run in 2014 for a chance at serving a full six-year term beyond that.
  • HARRY REID: ‘I’M TIRED’

    ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: After weeks of legislative ping pong and last minute closed door negotiations, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid shared a sentiment many across the country are feeling.

    “I’m tired,” Reid said at a news conference Wednesday night.

    Shortly after the Senate voted in favor of a bipartisan budget deal, Reid and Democratic leaders said they were pleased a deal was reached but warned that it should not be cause for excessive celebration since thousands of federal employees and the American economy took a hit during the shutdown.

    “It will be some time before we realize the effects of what we’ve just done, but the shutdown has hurt our economy to a significant degree,” Reid said. “But we were able to work it out.”
  • ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON: The House went back into session and allotted one hour of debate on the motion to concur with the Senate amendment (the big deal). Debate is moving quickly, and it looks like both Republicans and Democrats will yield back a considerable amount of time. The vote should begin around 10pm, and conclude by 1030pm.
  • SENATE QUIETLY CONFIRMS CAROLINE KENNEDY AS AMBASSADOR TO JAPAN

    ABC’s ARLETTE SAENZ: After the Senate voted on the fiscal deal, they move to confirm Caroline Kennedy as the next ambassador to Japan. There was no vote on the floor, no fanfare when she was confirmed. It was done by unanimous consent.

    President Obama nominated Kennedy, a 55-year-old author and attorney, to the diplomatic post in July. Kennedy will be the first female U.S. ambassador to Japan in U.S. history.

    Kennedy gave Obama's presidential campaign a major boost when she endorsed the Illinois senator in the 2008 presidential campaign. Kennedy was once considered a leading contender for Hillary Clinton's Senate seat when she became Secretary of State. Kennedy ultimately withdrew from consideration due to a "private family matter."
  • HOUSE APPROVES COMPROMISE BILL

    ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON: The House voted 285-144 tonight to end the 16-day shutdown, funding the government until Jan. 15 while suspending the debt limit until Feb. 7. 144 Republicans opposed the vote. Eighty-seven other Republicans joined all 198 Democrats casting votes tonight voted in favor of the measure.
  • BACK TO WORK...

    A statement from Sylvia Mathews Burwell, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, says government employees affected by the shutdown “should expect to return to work in the morning”:

    "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. Employees should be checking the news and OPM's website for further updates."
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