WASHINGTON (Oct. 16, 2013) — Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., have agreed on a plan to end the government shutdown, according to a press release from McConnell’s office.
Senate leaders have come to an agreement to “re-open the government, prevent default and protect the spending reductions in the Budget Control Act” after two weeks of shutdown, McConnell’s office said.
The government shutdown began Oct. 1. It led to furloughs of 350,000 federal workers and slowed economic growth.
“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,” McConnell said. “I’m confident we’ll be able to begin to do both those things later today.”
Under the agreement, the U.S. budget will be extended through Jan. 14, 2014. The debt limit will be suspended until Feb. 7, 2014, according to news agencies.
“A committee will look at more expansive plans for a budget later this year, with a report due December 13th,” reports Internet magazine The Verge. “The ACA itself remains undelayed and largely unchanged, except for tougher checks on the income of people receiving government health-care subsidies.”
McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor today:
“Crucially, I’m also confident that we’ll be able to announce that we’re protecting the government spending reductions that both parties agreed to under the Budget Control Act, and that the President signed into law.
“That’s been a top priority for me and my Republican colleagues throughout this debate. And it’s been worth the effort.
“Some have suggested that we break that promise as part of this agreement. They’ve said Washington needs to spend more, that we need to raise taxes — that we can just tax our way to prosperity and balance.
“But what the BCA showed is that Washington can cut spending. And because of this law, that’s just what we’ve done. For the first time since the Korean War, government spending has declined for two years in a row. That’s the first time in 50 years.
“And we’re not going back on this agreement.
“There is a lot more we need to do to get our nation’s fiscal house in order.
“Hopefully, once we’ve gotten past the drama of the moment we can get to work on it. But for now, let’s not understate the importance of the BCA, or the importance of the fight to preserve it.
“This legislation is the largest spending reduction bill of the last quarter century and the largest deficit reduction bill since 1981 that didn’t include a tax hike.
“Preserving this law is critically important.
“Throughout this debate, the public has been rightly focused on Obamacare — for good reason. This law is ravaging our economy, killing jobs, driving up premiums, and driving people off the health care plans they have and like, in droves. Its disastrous rollout is sign of even worse things to come. And the Democrat refusal to delay it reflects a stubborn ideological obsession that will do untold damage to our country. And Republicans remain determined to repeal this terrible law.
“But for today, the relief we hope for is to reopen the government, avoid default, and protect the historic cuts we achieved under the BCA. This is far less than many of us had hoped for. But it’s far better than what some had sought.
“Now it’s time for Republicans to unite behind our other crucial goals.”