WASHINGTON — The government shutdown is dead. Obamacare is alive.
The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, hours before the Treasury Department faced the possibility of being unable to pay all of America’s bills for the first time in modern history. The House followed suit, voting 285-144, to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.
President Barack Obama said he would reopen the government immediately to “lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease” that settled on the nation and start fixing the damage. “There is a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that has been lost over the last few weeks,” Obama said in a brief speech at the White House.
The standoff began over the summer, when tea party Republicans, led by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), demanded that the House of Representatives lock government funding in a chokehold unless Democrats and Obama defunded the Affordable Care
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said no, at first. But but he later gave in,ignoring the advice of other Republicans, from Mitt Romney to John McCain (Ariz.) and Tom Coburn (Okla.). Democrats opted for defend over defund, with Obama declaring he would not negotiate over his signature law, the budget or the debt while Republicans were holding hostages.