How the Debt-Ceiling and Shutdown Drama Lived Its Final Day

The latest from Congress as a deal makes its way into law.

Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner arrives at a House Republican meeting at the U.S. Capitol October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. 
National Journal
National Journal Staff
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National Journal Staff
Oct. 16, 2013, 6 a.m.

The House has just passed a deal to avert a debt-ceil­ing crisis and end the gov­ern­ment shut­down, just a day be­fore the Treas­ury De­part­ment’s debt-lim­it dead­line. The Sen­ate passed the bill earli­er to­night.

So, how’d we get here after two weeks of chaos? The fi­nal deal from Sen­ate lead­ers Harry Re­id and Mitch Mc­Con­nell rolled out just after noon on Wed­nes­day. The plan they craf­ted would fund the gov­ern­ment un­til Jan. 15 and raise the debt lim­it un­til Feb. 7. The deal would also tight­en veri­fic­a­tion for people who re­ceive sub­sidies un­der Obama­care and set up a bicam­er­al com­mit­tee to come up with a longer-term budget pro­pos­al. It also grants back-pay to fur­loughed work­ers. The White House is­sued a state­ment Wed­nes­day night giv­ing strong sup­port to the deal.

Obama gave a brief state­ment after the Sen­ate vote, thank­ing lead­ers for a deal and say­ing that “we’ve got to get out of the habit of gov­ern­ing by crisis.”

The Sen­ate was the first to vote on the pro­pos­al. The House then fol­lowed. Obama says he will sign it “im­me­di­ately.”

After over two weeks, it’s done. 

UP­DATE (10:56 p.m.): Back to Work

The dir­ect­or of the Of­fice of Man­age­ment and Budget has is­sued a state­ment let­ting fur­loughed em­ploy­ees know it’s time to get back to work. To­mor­row.

“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.” (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (10:30 p.m.): Con­fu­sion on the Floor

A House ste­no­graph­er made an out­burst dur­ing the vote, and was then dragged off the floor yelling about “a house di­vided,” mem­bers are say­ing. She was speak­ing about, among oth­er things, God. Mem­bers of Con­gress and staff on the floor were vis­ibly con­fused and shaken.

The House ste­no­graph­er, as she was be­ing put in­to the el­ev­at­ors after be­ing es­cor­ted off the House floor, yelled:

“This is not one na­tion un­der God, if it were the con­sti­tu­tion wouldn’t have been it wouldn’t been writ­ten by Free Ma­sons.”

“You can­not serve two mas­ters.”

The au­dio from the floor is here from NPR’s Todd Zwil­lich. You can see video from the floor here from C-SPAN(By Elahe Iz­adi and Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (10:16 p.m.): The Vote Is Over

The vote is now over in the House, 285-144.

Eighty-sev­en Re­pub­lic­ans voted in fa­vor of the bill, 144 voted against it. All Demo­crats who voted voted in fa­vor of the bill. Earli­er in the day, House Re­pub­lic­ans were ex­pect­ing more like 60 Re­pub­lic­an votes in fa­vor, so even though it’s not a ma­jor­ity, 87 isn’t a bad show­ing. So much for the Hastert Rule.

One not­able no: Rep. Paul Ry­an. From here, Con­gress goes on va­ca­tion. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (10:12 p.m.): The House Passes the Bill

The vote is still hap­pen­ing, but based on the in­form­al C-SPAN count, there are 220 yea votes. Which puts this over the edge, des­pite a large num­ber of Re­pub­lic­an nays. It’s over. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (9:55 p.m.): House Ends De­bate, Moves Onto the Vote

The vote’ll take 15 minutes. 

(10:05) So far, per Tim Al­berta, GOP lead­er­ship—in­clud­ing Eric Can­tor and Kev­in Mc­Carthy—have voted for the bill. No word yet from Boehner. 

UP­DATE (9:21 p.m.): The House Is In

Here we go. Onto the last leg of the even­ing…

The House has de­cided to hurry things up a bit by not send­ing the Sen­ate bill through the Rules Com­mit­tee. The rule was passed by un­an­im­ous con­sent. Now we’re onto an hour of de­bate be­fore the fi­nal vote. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (9:16 p.m.): The Con­gres­sion­al Budget Of­fice Weighs In

The CBO is out now with an es­tim­ate of the Sen­ate-passed deal. You can get all the spend­ing de­tails here.

UP­DATE (8:46 p.m.): Here’s What Hap­pens Next

House Rules Com­mit­tee Chair­man Pete Ses­sions ex­pects the bill, now passed by the Sen­ate, to hit the House floor at 9:30 p.m. From there, there could be an hour of de­bate be­fore a vote. Which brings us to right around the 11:00 p.m. es­tim­ate. Fi­nally, the bill goes to meet Obama’s pen.

And to­mor­row, in case you want to plan out your life after mid­night? The White House has just an­nounced that the pres­id­ent will de­liv­er a state­ment at 10:35 a.m. (By Elahe Iz­adi and Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (8:28 p.m.): Obama: Thanks for the Deal, Now Let Me Sign It

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4509) }}

At a state­ment from the White House, the pres­id­ent thanked the lead­ers of both parties, say­ing he’d sign the deal “im­me­di­ately” once it gets to his desk. “Hope­fully next time, it won’t be in the el­ev­enth hour. We’ve got to get out of the habit of gov­ern­ing by crisis.” 

He said that there’s “a lot of work ahead of us,” in­clud­ing gain­ing back re­cently lost trust, but he’ll speak more on this to­mor­row.

Obama again sug­ges­ted that, “with the shut­down be­hind us,” the U.S. has the op­pro­tun­ity to fo­cus on not just a “sens­ible” budget, but also im­mig­ra­tion re­form and a farm bill. 

Some people, like CNN’s John King, think that Obama mak­ing a state­ment be­fore the House votes could cost him some votes. We’ll soon see. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (9:10 p.m.): On the Demo­crat­ic Press­er

Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic lead­ers praised and thanked one an­oth­er, Pres­id­ent Obama and Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, in a news con­fer­ence after the fi­nal vote on an agree­ment to re­open gov­ern­ment and avert debt de­fault.

Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id, As­sist­ant Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Dick Durbin and Sens. Chuck Schu­mer and Patty Mur­ray filed in­to the third-floor Cap­it­ol TV stu­dio after the 81-18 vote and put the fisc­al stand-off in their rear-view mir­ror.

Re­id called for a re­newed fo­cus on im­mig­ra­tion re­form. The fisc­al fight morphs from the present stan­doff to a budget con­fer­ence where Demo­crats are hop­ing they can per­suade Re­pub­lic­ans to roll back se­quest­ra­tion cuts.

As agreed to in Re­id and Mc­Con­nell’s deal, a con­fer­ence re­port is due by Dec. 13. (By Mi­chael Cata­lini)

UP­DATE (8:20 p.m.): Obama’s Com­ing

The pres­id­ent will is­sue a stat­ment from the press room in five minutes. Kinda over­shad­ows the Demo­crat­ic press con­fer­ence that’s cur­rently go­ing on. It’s also not quite clear why the pres­id­ent is talk­ing be­fore the House votes. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (8:07 p.m.): The Sen­ate Passes the Deal

The bill passed 81-18. Next up: the House.

The no votes:

Tom Coburn, John Cornyn, Mike Crapo, Mike En­zi, Chuck Grass­ley, Dean Heller, Ron John­son, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Jim Risch, Pat Roberts, Marco Ru­bio, Tim Scott, Jeff Ses­sions, Richard Shelby, Pat Toomey, and Dav­id Vit­ter.

As with the clo­ture vote, all nos were Re­pub­lic­ans. They in­cluded the sen­at­ors that voted against clo­ture with the ad­di­tions of Tim Scott and Tom Coburn.

UP­DATE (7:55 p.m.): The Sen­ate Votes for Clo­ture

The Sen­ate voted for clo­ture, 83-16. The no votes, all Re­pub­lic­ans, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der:

Dav­id Vit­ter, Ted Cruz, Ron John­son, Mike Lee, Pat Roberts, Pat Toomey, Marco Ru­bio, John Cornyn, Richard Shelby, Rand Paul, Dean Heller, Jeff Ses­sions, Mike En­zi, Jim Risch, Mike Crapo, and Chuck Grass­ley.

Jim In­hofe did not vote.

The most not­able no here is Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, the lone mem­ber of the Sen­ate GOP lead­er­ship vot­ing against clo­ture. Cornyn is the Sen­ate Minor­ity Whip. On the oth­er hand, the most not­able yes may be Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who re­placed Jim De­Mint when De­Mint left to lead Her­it­age. Her­it­age, through it’s Her­it­age Ac­tion group, was very much op­posed to this deal. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (7:33 p.m.): The Sen­ate Is Vot­ing Now. Really!

The Sen­ate is cur­rently vot­ing for clo­ture. It’s a 15 minute vote. From here, there will be an­oth­er 15 minute vote on the bill it­self.

UP­DATE (7:30 p.m.): Sen. Patty Mur­ray Starts the Ball on the Budget Con­fer­ence

The Wash­ing­ton Demo­crat asked for un­an­im­ous con­sent to set up a bicam­er­al budget con­fer­ence with a re­port due by Decem­ber 13 if the Re­id-Mc­Con­nell plan passes through Con­gress. There was no ob­jec­tion to the re­quest.

After that, Harry Re­id began the pro­cess to get to a vote on the bill, start­ing with a vote for clo­ture to cut off de­bate. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (7:23 p.m.): The Sen­ate Votes Are Com­ing

Vot­ing in the Sen­ate is set to start in the next 10-15 minutes, ac­cord­ing to a Sen­ate Demo­crat­ic lead­er­ship aide. (By Elahe Iz­adi)

UP­DATE (7:20 p.m.): There’s Some Pork Hid­ing in the Deal

BuzzFeed‘s John Stan­ton has dug through the full text of the Re­id-Mc­Con­nell plan and found some treats for the Re­pub­lic­an lead­er. Ac­cord­ing to Stan­ton, the bill fea­tures a pro­vi­sion that would send nearly $3 bil­lion in fund­ing to the Army Corps of En­gin­eers for a dam and lock pro­ject that would be­ne­fit Ken­tucky, Ten­ness­ee, and Illinois. Mitch Mc­Con­nell, of course, is fa­cing some tough com­pet­i­tion in his Ken­tucky reelec­tion race. 

Over at the At­lanta Journ­al-Con­sti­tu­tion, Jam­ie Dupree finds some more in­ter­est­ing bits from the bill, in­clud­ing a $174,000 death be­ne­fit for the late Sen. Frank Lauten­berg’s wife. Dupree also re­ports that the dam and lock pro­ject didn’t come from Mc­Con­nell’s of­fice — at least ac­cord­ing to Mc­Con­nell’s of­fice.(By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (7:08 p.m.): Chuck Schu­mer: “Lead­er Mc­Con­nell Stood Up For the Good of the Na­tion”

The New York Demo­crat took the floor after Cruz and paid trib­ute to both Harry Re­id and Mitch Mc­Con­nell. “We have seen that a small fac­tion, in either house, when it says ‘my way or no way,’ when it says ‘I am go­ing to do such hurt to in­no­cent people that you will have to suc­cumb to me,’ we saw they failed. Hope­fully with large, bi­par­tis­an votes.”

Schu­mer said that the “sil­ver lin­ing in this cloud” is that maybe now, after this, “we can go back to the old way of le­gis­lat­ing.” (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (6:56 p.m.): Ted Cruz: “This Deal Em­bod­ies Everything About the Wash­ing­ton Es­tab­lish­ment that Frus­trates the Amer­ic­an People”

Com­ing to the Sen­ate floor Wed­nes­day night, Cruz knocked the Re­id-Mc­Con­nell deal as “ter­rible,” largely re­play­ing his pre­vi­ous lines on Obama­care, and its ef­fects on premi­ums, seni­ors, and single moth­ers. Again, Cruz cited Jimmy Hoffa and the Team­sters.

“Today, the United States Sen­ate is say­ing: you don’t have a voice in Wash­ing­ton,” Cruz said. “This is a ter­rible deal.” 

Cruz also knocked Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans for not stand­ing united with House Re­pub­lic­ans “against the train-wreck that is Obama­care.” Cruz said that it is “heart­break­ing” that Sen­ate Re­pub­lic­ans dir­ec­ted their “can­non-fire” at House Re­pub­lic­ans. 

But, Cruz wanted to end on an en­cour­aging note for his sup­port­ers.”Wash­ing­ton is broken, but the an­swers are go­ing to come from the Amer­ic­an people.”

“This is a ter­rible deal today, but it is a ter­rible deal for the Amer­ic­an people…but we’re go­ing to turn this around.”

Cruz’s com­ments on the floor echoed those he made earli­er today on talk ra­dio:

On @marklev­in­show, Cruz said Sen­ate GOP should have been the cav­alry. “In­stead, they be­came the Air Force bomb­ing our own troops.”

— Steven Port­noy (@steven­port­noy) Oc­to­ber 16, 2013

(By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (6:47 p.m.): What’s Hap­pen­ing in the Sen­ate?

The vote is so far tak­ing a bit longer to hap­pen then was pre­vi­ously thought. But sen­at­ors are now back on the floor, with Saxby Cham­b­liss, R-Geor­gia, cur­rently speak­ing on, of all things, how to pro­cess ter­ror­ists.

We should be get­ting there… (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (6:20 p.m.): A Deal For Wash­ing­ton D.C.?

The Wash­ing­ton Post‘s Mike De­Bonis found something po­ten­tially big in the Red-Mc­Con­nell plan:

D.C. wins full-year spend­ing au­thor­ity in Hill shut­down deal, ac­cord­ing to draft bill circ’d by Re­id’s of­fice. Story soon.

— Mike De­Bonis (@mik­ede­bonis) Oc­to­ber 16, 2013

Here’s the re­levent text from Sec­tion 127 of the bill:

“Not­with­stand­ing any oth­er pro­vi­sion of this joint res­ol­u­tion, the Dis­trict of Columbia may ex­pend loc­al funds un­der the head­ing ”Dis­trict of Columbia Funds” for such pro­grams and activ­it­ies un­der title IV of H.R. 2786 (113th Con­gress), as re­por­ted by the Com­mit­tee on Ap­pro­pri­ations of the House of Rep­res­ent­at­ives, at the rate set forth un­der ”Dis­trict of Columbia Funds — Sum­mary of Ex­penses” as in­cluded in the Fisc­al Year 2014 Budget Re­quest Act of 2013 (D.C. Act 20”“127), as mod­i­fied as of the date of the en­act­ment of this joint res­ol­u­tion.”

And here’s the full story from the Post. Over­all, this would mean that if a shut­down hap­pens again next Janu­ary, D.C. would be able to use its own funds to keep the city up and run­ning.

UP­DATE (6:05 p.m.): Some De­tails From the Bill

From the bill (which you can read in full here):

So, all this bill re­quires on Obama­care veri­fic­a­tion are re­ports from HHS & OIG. No ac­tu­al change in the pro­cess.

— Sam Baker (@sam_baker) Oc­to­ber 16, 2013

The bill also grants full back-pay to all shut­down fur­loughed work­ers at their “stand­ard rate.”

UP­DATE (5:56 p.m.): Full Text of the Plan to End the Shut­down and Raise the Debt Ceil­ing

Read it all here.

UP­DATE (5:35 p.m.): Sen­ate Set to Vote Around 6:00 P.M.

That’s per Re­u­ters.

UP­DATE (4:08 p.m.): House GOP Lead­er­ship To Vote For the Deal

While many House con­ser­vat­ives are still ex­pec­ted to op­pose the Sen­ate’s plan, more Re­pub­lic­ans than had been an­ti­cip­ated earli­er in the day are now ex­pec­ted to help pass it.

Dur­ing a closed-door meet­ing of House Re­pub­lic­ans Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon, all of the House GOP elec­ted lead­er­ship team said they would vote for the meas­ure. That’s dif­fer­ent from the fisc­al cliff pack­age that Boehner al­lowed on the House floor on New Year’s, when both Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Eric Can­tor, R-Va., and Ma­jor­ity Whip Kev­in Mc­Carthy, R-Cal­if., un­der­cut the speak­er by bolt­ing and vot­ing against the meas­ure.

That meas­ure passed, any­how, with most Demo­crats join­ing some Re­pub­lic­ans in sup­port.

On Wed­nes­day night, as many as 60 House Re­pub­lic­ans are ex­pec­ted to back the Sen­ate debt-ceil­ing pack­age, in­clud­ing Can­tor and Mc­Carthy. And House Demo­crats say they will be joined by nearly all of the mem­bers of their 200-mem­ber caucus — mean­ing there will likely be more than enough votes to pass the bill.

In the af­ter­noon closed-door meet­ing with rank-and-file Re­pub­lic­ans, Boehner was giv­en a stand­ing ova­tion, and mem­bers said he told them, es­sen­tially, “we will live to fight an­oth­er day.” (By Billy House)

UP­DATE (3:47 p.m.): Her­it­age Ac­tion: Vote Against the Sen­ate Plan

Well, this seemed bound to hap­pen. After key-vot­ing yes­ter­day’s failed House GOP plan, the in­flu­en­tial Her­it­age Ac­tion group has key voted the new Sen­ate plan. They’re call­ing on Con­gress to vote no:

“Un­for­tu­nately, the pro­posed deal will do noth­ing to stop Obama­care’s massive new en­ti­tle­ments from tak­ing root — rad­ic­ally chan­ging the nature of Amer­ic­an health care.” 

Her­it­age Ac­tion joins the Club For Growth in op­pos­i­tion to the plan. It may not stop the plan from go­ing through, but it makes it more likely that Boehner won’t be able to bring a ma­jor­ity of his caucus with him in passing it. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (3:33 p.m.): Speak­er Boehner Makes It Press State­ment Of­fi­cial

The speak­er will al­low a vote in the House on the Sen­ate bill, ac­cord­ing to a new state­ment out this af­ter­noon. Here it is in full, with our em­phas­is:

“The House has fought with everything it has to con­vince the pres­id­ent of the United States to en­gage in bi­par­tis­an ne­go­ti­ations aimed at ad­dress­ing our coun­try’s debt and provid­ing fair­ness for the Amer­ic­an people un­der Obama­Care. That fight will con­tin­ue. But block­ing the bi­par­tis­an agree­ment reached today by the mem­bers of the Sen­ate will not be a tac­tic for us. In ad­di­tion to the risk of de­fault, do­ing so would open the door for the Demo­crat­ic ma­jor­ity in Wash­ing­ton to raise taxes again on the Amer­ic­an people and undo the spend­ing caps in the 2011 Budget Con­trol Act without re­pla­cing them with bet­ter spend­ing cuts. With our na­tion’s eco­nomy still strug­gling un­der years of the pres­id­ent’s policies, rais­ing taxes is not a vi­able op­tion. Our drive to stop the train wreck that is the pres­id­ent’s health care law will con­tin­ue. We will rely on ag­gress­ive over­sight that high­lights the law’s massive flaws and smart, tar­geted strikes that split the le­gis­lat­ive co­ali­tion the pres­id­ent has re­lied upon to force his health care law on the Amer­ic­an people.”

UP­DATE (3:25 p.m.): GOP Con­gress­man on Tea Parti­ers: “I’m Not Sure They’re Re­pub­lic­ans”

Rep. Charles Bous­tany, R-Lou., bashed the tea party wing of his party on Wed­nes­day.

“There are mem­bers with a dif­fer­ent agenda,” Bous­tany told Na­tion­al Journ­al. “And I’m not sure they’re Re­pub­lic­ans and I’m not sure they’re con­ser­vat­ive.” You can read the full story here from Shane Gold­mach­er.

UP­DATE (3:19 p.m.): House Demo­crats Feel­ing Pretty, Pretty Good

After a caucus meet­ing, House Demo­crats say they ex­pect total unity on the Sen­ate deal once it reaches the House. It’s “ap­proach­ing un­an­im­ity,” says Rep. Steve Is­rael. (By Elahe Iz­adi)

UP­DATE (3:15 p.m.): John Boehner Does Ra­dio

The House speak­er went on a Cin­cin­nati ra­dio show this af­ter­noon to talk about the deal, and what he’s think­ing. “We fought the good fight,” he told 700WLW, “we just didn’t win.” Boehner said that he’s push­ing House Re­pub­lic­ans to vote for the Sen­ate plan, and he’ll bring the bill for a vote in the House. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (3:00 p.m.): The House’s Plan

The Re­id-Mc­Con­nell deal is ex­pec­ted to reach the House Rules Com­mit­tee by about 7:00 p.m. From there, the House hopes to vote on it be­fore mid­night. So, could be a long night, even if it’s not quite as tense now that there’s a plan in place. (By Billy House and Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (2:40 p.m.): What to Ex­pect for the Rest of Today

Up­dated plans are for the Sen­ate to now vote first on the deal as early as Wed­nes­day af­ter­noon or early even­ing.

The House is to fol­low with a vote in the even­ing, and then the meas­ure would be sent to the pres­id­ent — all of that oc­cur­ring with­in just hours be­fore the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s Thursday dead­line for hik­ing the na­tion’s $16.7 tril­lion bor­row­ing cap.

Un­der an earli­er strategy hatched by Sen­ate and House lead­ers, House lead­ers had been plan­ning to vote first on the meas­ure as a way around some of the pro­ced­ur­al hurdles that could have been put up in the Sen­ate.

Help­ing to smooth the way for the Sen­ate to be able to take that ini­tial ac­tion was Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Tex., who told re­port­ers Wed­nes­day that he would not at­tempt to block the meas­ure. (By Billy House)

UP­DATE (2:16 p.m.): Club For Growth: Don’t Vote For This Deal

The Club For Growth has is­sued a “key vote” on the Re­id-Mc­Con­nell deal. They’re a no:

“This an­nounced plan, the de­tails of which aren’t com­pletely known, ap­pears to have little to no re­forms in it. There are no sig­ni­fic­ant changes to Obama­Care, noth­ing on the oth­er ma­jor en­ti­tle­ments that are racked with tril­lions in un­fun­ded li­ab­il­it­ies, and no mean­ing­ful spend­ing cuts either. If this bill passes, Con­gress will kick the can down the road, yet again.”

Her­it­age Ac­tion had key voted Tues­day’s House GOP plan as a no, but they haven’t come out with a state­ment on the latest deal. House con­ser­vat­ives were already likely to largely vote against the Re­id-Mc­Con­nell plan, but this move from the Club For Growth just makes go­ing against lead­er­ship a bit easi­er. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (1:41 p.m.): Cruz Won’t Block Sen­ate Deal, Won’t Budge on Obama­care Either

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, said in a press con­fer­ence Wed­nes­day that he would not fight a Sen­ate deal to end the shut­down and raise the debt ceil­ing. He’s not happy about it though, be­cause its devoid of evid­ence of his ef­forts to de­fund the Af­ford­able Care Act, a fight that pre­cip­it­ated the shut­down. “The fight against Obama­care must con­tin­ue in the face of Wash­ing­ton’s apathy,” he said in a later state­ment. “That is where my at­ten­tion will re­main fo­cused.” The gov­ern­ment shut­down may have erased any lever­age Re­pub­lic­ans had to weak­en health care re­form, but it doesn’t sound like Cruz is will­ing to ad­mit de­feat. (By Mar­ina Koren)

UP­DATE (1:09 p.m.): House GOP Calls Af­ter­noon Meet­ing in Cap­it­ol Base­ment

House Re­pub­lic­an lead­er­ship has called for a 3 p.m. closed-doors con­fer­ence meet­ing this af­ter­noon in the Cap­it­ol base­ment. He is ex­pec­ted to ex­plain why and how he in­tends to al­low a floor vote on a Sen­ate-pre­pared plan to end the shut­down and lift the debt ceil­ing.

Mean­while, hun­dreds of House con­ser­vat­ives are cur­rently huddled in the Cap­it­ol Vis­it­or Cen­ter for the weekly meet­ing of the Re­pub­lic­an Study Com­mit­tee. In a rare move, RSC lead­er­ship re­moved staffers from the room shortly after the meet­ing began so there could be a can­did dis­cus­sion among mem­bers, ac­cord­ing to aides present.

Sev­er­al RSC mem­bers have already stated that they will op­pose today’s House vote on the Sen­ate plan to re­open gov­ern­ment and raise the debt ceil­ing. But today’s RSC meet­ing, mem­bers say, is less about strategiz­ing for that vote and more about how to move for­ward. (By Tim Al­berta and Billy House)

UP­DATE (1:07 p.m.): Obama to Con­gress: Act Fast

The White House ap­plauded the Re­id-Mc­Con­nell agree­ment Wed­nes­day and urged both houses to ap­prove it to move the na­tion away from the brink of de­fault. Press sec­ret­ary Jay Car­ney said Pres­id­ent Obama be­lieves the agree­ment will re­open the gov­ern­ment and re­move the threat of eco­nom­ic brink­man­ship. The pres­id­ent en­cour­ages the Con­gress to act swiftly, Car­ney said.

After re­peatedly in­sist­ing the pres­id­ent would not pay ransom to end the shut­down, Car­ney said the pres­id­ent does not ob­ject to the in­come veri­fic­a­tion pro­vi­sion in the agree­ment. “We’re fine with it,” said Car­ney, call­ing it a “mod­est ad­just­ment.” “Ransom would be a wholly dif­fer­ent thing,” he said. (By George Con­don)

UP­DATE (12:35 p.m.): Speak­er John Boehner, Hero?

Wheth­er Speak­er John Boehner will ul­ti­mately face the wrath of hard-line mem­bers of his Re­pub­lic­an con­fer­ence for al­low­ing a vote on the Sen­ate-pre­pared bill to re­solve the debt ceil­ing and gov­ern­ment shut­down is open for de­bate.

But Demo­crat­ic Rep. John Yar­muth of Ken­tucky is among those provid­ing glow­ing en­dorse­ments.

“Today, he is my hero,” said Yar­muth, stand­ing out­side of the House cham­ber. (By Billy House)

UP­DATE (12:17 p.m.): Re­id and Mc­Con­nell Take the Floor to In­tro­duce Com­prom­ise

It’s nev­er easy to get a deal, the ma­jor­ity lead­er said as he took the floor. “This time was really hard.” But, all the same, here it comes.

Re­id an­nounced a con­fer­ence com­mit­tee led by Sen. Patty Mur­ray and Rep. Paul Ry­an that would help to “chart a course for eco­nom­ic growth” with a long-term budget agree­ment that would “pre­vent these fre­quent crises.”

Mitch Mc­Con­nell fol­lowed Re­id, say­ing that it’s been a long couple weeks for the na­tion and Con­gress, but that they’ve now “put some of those most ur­gent is­sues be­hind us.” Mc­Con­nell said the deal was “far less than many of us had hoped for,” but it is still bet­ter than what oth­ers had sought.

UP­DATE (12:16 p.m.): Ted Cruz Won’t Block the Deal

Asked if he would block it, he said “of course not.” So there you have it. This ob­vi­ously makes pas­sage much sim­pler in the Sen­ate.

UP­DATE (12:15 p.m.): Next Step for the House? After a Vote, Every­one Goes Home

After passing the Sen­ate’s bill to re­open gov­ern­ment and lift the debt ceil­ing, House GOP lead­ers will al­low mem­bers to ad­journ for the rest of the week — and pos­sibly in­to early next week — ac­cord­ing to con­gres­sion­al aides fa­mil­i­ar with the plans.

Speak­er John Boehner and his lieu­ten­ants will hold-off on re­leas­ing mem­bers to leave Wash­ing­ton un­til after the Sen­ate fol­lows the House in also passing the meas­ure. That’s just in case some last-second change force the bill to get sent back Wed­nes­day night.

But once that hap­pens, House mem­bers will be giv­en the green light to leave — and get star­ted on spin­ning what’s just happened to con­stitu­ents back home in their dis­tricts.

Be­fore the Sen­ate-pre­pared debt ceil­ing and gov­ern­ment fund­ing bill can ar­rive on the House floor for a vote, it must first see the meas­ure go through the House Rules Com­mit­tee. Ac­cord­ing to con­gres­sion­al aides fa­mil­i­ar with the plan, the com­mit­tee is ex­pec­ted to pass the rule set­ting the floor pro­ced­ures in a “voice vote.”

The House will then take a pre­vi­ous ver­sion of a House res­ol­u­tion — and dis­ap­prove of pre­vi­ous Sen­ate amend­ments. Then, it will sub­sti­tute for those a new amend­ment, which in es­sence will be the plan worked out are what Sen­ate Ma­jor­ity Lead­er Harry Re­id, D-Nev., and Minor­ity Lead­er Mitch Mc­Con­nell, R-Ky., have just worked out.

After pas­sage, the bill will be sent to the Sen­ate, passed there, and then is ex­pec­ted to be signed by the pres­id­ent. (By Billy House)

UP­DATE (12:03 p.m.): The Sen­ate Is In

Sen. Harry Re­id has taken the floor and is wait­ing on Mitch Mc­Con­nell be­fore speak­ing more on their debt-ceil­ing deal. In the mean­time, Re­id paid trib­ute to the Sen­ate chap­lain be­fore call­ing for a roll to buy some time. Oh, and C-SPAN 2 is play­ing some trum­pet. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (12:00 p.m.): Even With a Deal, the Dam­age Has Been Done

Deal or no deal, the coun­try is already pay­ing a price for Con­gress’ brink­man­ship, and it’s be­ing done to the coun­try’s most valu­able fin­an­cial as­set: the world’s full faith in its cred­it. Read more here from Patrick Re­is.

UP­DATE (11:50 a.m.): John Boehner’s Speak­er­ship Could Be Safe

That’s even if he puts the Sen­ate plan on the floor without get­ting a ma­jor­ity of Re­pub­lic­ans to vote for it. House con­ser­vat­ive Rep. Raul Lab­rador said this morn­ing that he is “really proud” of Boehner, and that he has “noth­ing to worry about right now.”

Part of the reas­on for that? House con­ser­vat­ives may catch a break with the new deal. They get to vote no on the plan, and they don’t have to have the weight of a de­fault crisis hanging on them as a con­sequence.

And as Matt Vasi­lo­gam­bros writes, wor­ries over Boehner’s speak­er­ship in the past have all been for naught. So far at least, he’s proven to be quite re­si­li­ent. (By Matt Ber­man and Billy House)

UP­DATE (11:35 a.m.): Re­id and Mc­Con­nell to Take the Sen­ate Floor at Noon

In just about a half an hour, the two Sen­ate lead­ers will speak on the floor about their deal, ac­cord­ing to a GOP Sen­ate aide. (By Mi­chael Cata­lini)

UP­DATE (11:24 a.m.): Could the Sen­ate Deal End the Debt-Ceil­ing Crises?

The deal that the Sen­ate is now get­ting set to roll out would in­clude lan­guage for a “res­ol­u­tion of dis­ap­prov­al” that would al­low Con­gress to dis­ap­prove of a debt-ceil­ing in­crease, as op­posed to ap­prov­ing of one like it does now. That would mean that, as long as the debt-lim­it in­crease is not ex­pli­citly dis­ap­proved by both cham­bers with a veto-proof ma­jor­ity, the debt-lim­it would in­crease.

It’s a plan that was ori­gin­ally floated in 2011 by Mitch Mc­Con­nell, and it’s been more re­cently ad­voc­ated for by Demo­crats like Sen. Bar­bara Box­er. If it goes through and be­comes a per­man­ent part of fu­ture debt-ceil­ing deals, it could mean the end of this crisis-cycle.

You can read more de­tails on the Sen­ate deal here(By Billy House and Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (11:00 a.m.): Will Any­one (Read: Ted Cruz) Ob­ject to the Deal in the Sen­ate?

The ques­tion was put to Rand Paul. His re­sponse: “people are ready to vote.” (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (10:39 a.m.): GOP Sen­at­or: Deal Is Set

This from the AP:

BREAK­ING: Re­pub­lic­an sen­at­or says a bi­par­tis­an deal is in hand to re­open gov­ern­ment and avoid a de­fault.

— The As­so­ci­ated Press (@AP) Oc­to­ber 16, 2013

UP­DATE (10:35 a.m.): House GOP Lead­er­ship Is Meet­ing Now

In the Speak­er’s of­fice. (By Matt Ber­man)

UP­DATE (10:22 a.m.): How Real Is the Oct. 17 Dead­line?

If there’s no deal to raise the debt lim­it by to­mor­row, the Treas­ury De­part­ment will no longer be able to bor­row money and be left with about $30 bil­lion in cash-on-hand. That doesn’t mean that the U.S. will auto­mat­ic­ally de­fault come Thursday. Part of the reas­on for that is just the cal­en­dar:

To­mor­row is hardly a “dead­line” pic.twit­ter.com/yCOPPks5xd

— Steven Per­l­berg (@steven­per­l­berg) Oc­to­ber 16, 2013

The real po­ten­tial for a de­fault crisis kicks in around the end of the month, with nearly $60 bil­lion in pay­ments due to be made on Novem­ber 1.

But just be­cause the U.S. won’t de­fault on Thursday doesn’t mean hit­ting to­mor­row’s dead­line won’t be deeply prob­lem­at­ic. The cred­it rat­ing agency Fitch already has the U.S.’s AAA rat­ing un­der neg­at­ive re­view, and hit­ting that dead­line could push mar­kets over the edge and cre­ate even more eco­nom­ic un­cer­tainty. Most of Con­gress, the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion, and many big-time fin­an­cial in­vestors view Oc­to­ber 17 as a ser­i­ous dead­line. That alone would make a breach eco­nom­ic­ally dan­ger­ous. (By Matt Ber­man)

Cor­rec­tion: An earli­er ver­sion of this story said that Pete Ses­sions did not vote for clo­ture. It was Jeff Ses­sions.

{{ BIZOBJ (video: 4506) }}

Matt Berman, Michael Catalini, Billy House, Tim Alberta, Elahe Izadi, George Condon and Marina Koren contributed to this article.
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