World News

Senate Votes to Reopen US Government, Raise Debt Ceiling

The U.S. Senate voted Wednesday night to approve a last-minute compromise to reopen the federal government and raise the debt ceiling to avoid a potential U.S. default on its debts.

The bill passed 81 to 18. It now goes to the House of Representatives, where Speaker John Boehner says Republicans will not block it.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, and his Republican colleague put together the composite bill Wednesday, a day before the current debt ceiling expires.

If passed by the House and signed by President Barack Obama, the bill 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. In the meantime, lawmakers would negotiate on spending cuts.

The White House says it strongly suports the Senate bill and urged the entire Congress to pass it.

Reid said both sides set aside their differences so the country could avoid financial "disaster."

If the debt ceiling was not raised, the United States would lose the authority to borrow money to keep paying its bills.

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 has said he will not 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.

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