Senate Approves Fiscal Compromise, House Acts Next
(WASHINGTON) -- The Senate Wednesday night approved a compromise proposal that would fund the government until Jan. 15 and extend the debt limit until Feb. 7.
Eighty-one senators voted in favor of the measure and 18 voted against it.
The House intends to hold its vote later Wednesday night.
The compromise was completed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell after a House effort to offer a counter-proposal nearly derailed Senate negotiations.
The final agreement makes only insignificant changes to President Obama's health care law, by requiring income verification for people receiving health care subsidies from the government. And it also authorizes a bipartisan committee of negotiators to hammer out a long-term budget deal by Dec. 13, before government funding runs out again in January.
Senate Republican and Democratic leaders praised the compromise as a breakthrough.
"This compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs," Reid, D-Nev., said on the Senate floor Wednesday.
"This has been a long challenging few weeks for Congress and for the country," McConnell, R-Ky., added. "It's my hope that today we can put some of the most urgent issues behind us."
And Republicans in the House, though they resisted it, rallied around House Speaker John Boehner Wednesday as he announced his willingness to move forward with the Senate bill.
One member leaving a House Republican Conference meeting Wednesday afternoon said Boehner received a standing ovation from the group. Another told ABC News that when the leadership asked whether any members objected to their plan to move forward with a vote on the Senate bill, none objected.
Boehner left without making comment, but shook his fist before cameras in a display of success.
In an interview Wednesday afternoon with ABC News, Tea Party Chairwoman Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., who has often clashed with the GOP leadership, said she was "very proud" of Boehner and she said he did "a wonderful job" holding the conference together.
"He was committed. We fought for the American people that was the issue," she said.
With the Senate compromise, there are now three more deadlines facing Congress -- in December, January and February -- when conservatives could once again attempt to force major changes to Obamacare.
At the same time, Rep. Doug Lamborn, R-Colo., who was among those who pushed to roll back Obamacare, acknowledged that there are not enough votes in the Senate to approve legislation that would defund or delay the law.
"Obviously, we can't defund or delay Obamacare. The votes aren't there in the Senate," Lamborn said. "That's been crystal clear to us, but we'll try to do other things wherever we can."
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