Congress passes legislation to avoid default; end shutdown

10:38 PM, Oct 16, 2013   |    comments
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St. Petersburg, Florida -- "Once this agreement arrives on my desk, I will sign it immediately, and we will begin opening our government immediately," said President Barack Obama.

The president spoke just minutes after the Senate voted 81-18 to avoid financial default and reopen the government after a 16-day partial shutdown.

The Senate found common ground with the help of minority leader Mitch McConnell, but Florida Democrat Bill Nelson had no kind words for Tea Party members of Congress.

"This never should have happened in the first place. A couple of senators and a handful of House extremists have managed to embarrass America in front of the world," said Nelson.

Just after 9 p.m., House Representatives began debate to accept the Senate bill that will reopen the government through Jan. 15 and permit the Treasury to borrow money through February.

Without it, the government would reach the current $16.7 trillion debt limit at midnight and would no longer be able borrow money to meet its obligations.

And at 10 p.m., voting in the House began, with a swift passage of the bill that now heads to the president.

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