U.S. Senate leaders have crafted a last-minute deal to reopen the federal government and avoid a potential U.S. default on its debts.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his Republican colleague, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, announced the deal Wednesday. Reid said both sides set aside their differences so the country could avoid financial "disaster."
The proposal would keep the government running until January 15 and raise the borrowing limit enough to put off the risk of default until at least February 7.
The Senate could vote on the deal later Wednesday. Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner is asking the House of Representatives to pass the measure. His office issued a statement saying his party will not block the bipartisan deal.
White House spokesman Jay Carney praised Senate leaders for reaching a bipartisan proposal. He said President Barack Obama hopes both houses of Congress work swiftly to pass the legislation.
Thursday is the deadline when the U.S. Treasury Department has said it will reach its borrowing limit and risk default. Financial markets could plunge without a deal.
The U.S. government shutdown began its third week Tuesday, with all but essential services closed, along with many national parks, museums, and monuments.
The government shut down on October 1 when the Senate rejected House demands to defund or delay President Obama's health care law as part of a spending bill. The president refused to negotiate any changes in the law until the government reopens.
Speaker Boehner says House Republicans fought with everything they had to force negotiations on the law, nicknamed "Obamacare." He said his party will continue to push for legislative oversight and highlight perceived flaws in the scheme.