WASHINGTON (TIP): President Obama signed the legislation to reopen the government October 16 night, soon after the House passed the bill earlier adopted by the Senate. An agreement struck by Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (DNed.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) ended a stalemate created last month, when hard-line conservatives pushed GOP leaders to use the threat of shutdown to block a landmark expansion of federally funded health coverage. The Senate overwhelmingly ratified the deal the 16th evening, 81 to 18, with more than half of Senate Republicans voting yes. A few hours later, the House followed suit, approving the measure 285 to 144. Eighty-seven Republicans joined a united Democratic caucus in approving the measure, allowing Congress to meet a critical Treasury Department deadline with one day to spare. Speaking on the reopening of the government, Obama said, “Because Democrats and responsible President Wants a New Approach Republicans came together, the first government shutdown in 17 years is now over.
The first default in more than 200 years will not happen. These twin threats to our economy have been lifted.” There was no economic rationale for all this, President Obama said. “Over the past four years, our economy has been growing, our businesses have been creating jobs, and our deficits have been cut in half,” he said, “but nothing has done more to undermine our economy these past three years than the kind of tactics that create these manufactured crises.” The way business is done in Washington has to change, President Obama said. The standoff “inflicted completely unnecessary damage (to) our economy” by slowing growth and increasing borrowing costs, Obama said, declaring that “there are no winners here.” At the same time, he blamed the brinksmanship that flirted with the first default in U.S. history on no-compromise tactics of the Republican tea party wing in Congress, saying that “the American people are completely fed up with Washington.” “Let’s work together to make government work better instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse,” Obama said in a direct jab at tea party conservatives. “You don’t like a particular policy or a particular president? Then argue for your position. Go out there and win an election,” he added. “Push to change it, but don’t break it” because “that’s not being faithful to what this country’s about.” Saying “we can’t degenerate into hatred,” he ended by quoting part of the Pledge of Allegiance that states America is “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”