Senate Leaders Reach Bipartisan Deal

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from The Wall Street Journal,

House GOP Leaders Contemplating Vote on Senate Plan.

Senate leaders struck an 11th-hour agreement to avoid a U.S. debt crisis and fully reopen the federal government, just a day before the U.S. Treasury was expected to exhaust its ability to borrow more money.

The deal follows a day of delay and confusion in Congress’s efforts to avoid a U.S. default, as House Republican leaders failed to craft a GOP budget proposal that could muster enough votes to pass.

House GOP leaders on Wednesday were contemplating taking up the expected deal from the Senate for a vote later in the day, according to aides from both parties. That would send the bill to the Senate in a fashion enabling the Senate to skip some of its time-consuming procedures to ensure a quicker final vote.

The Senate plan, announced by leaders as the Senate opened Wednesday’s session, would fund federal agencies at current spending levels through Jan. 15 and extend the nation’s borrowing authority through Feb. 7. A negotiating committee would separately be charged with devising plans for longer-term fiscal solutions.

“The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs,” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said on the Senate floor. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky), also spoke, saying he was confident the deal would end the budget stalemate on Wednesday.

As part of the deal, senators agreed to not prevent the Treasury Department from using emergency measures to avoid default in the future, a big win for the White House that will have implications the next time Congress debates whether to raise the country’s borrowing limit, congressional aides said.

The Senate agreement also includes no major alterations to the 2010 health-care law. But the deal will include one minor change sought by Republicans, setting new procedures to verify the incomes of some people receiving government subsidies for health-insurance costs.

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