Shutdown averted: Budget deal reached in D.C. after 'long fight'
House Speaker John Boehner just announced a deal has been reached to fund the federal government for the rest of the fiscal year, preventing a government shutdown that carried big risks for both parties.
"This has been a lot of discussion and a long fight," Boehner said.
The deal calls for a short-term "continuing resolution" to keep the lights on through part of next week until the bigger plan is finalized. Overall, it cuts $38 billion, the largest single spending reduction ever, but far short of the $61 billion approved by House Republicans more than a month ago.
"Nobody is 100 percent happy with it," said freshman Rep. Rich Nugent, R-Brooksville, "but it's the best deal we could get."
President Obama spoke from the White House just after 11 p.m. and said some of the cuts will be "painful" but the overall effort is necessary. With the Washington Monument behind him, he said the nation's capital -- and indeed the entire federal government -- "is open for business."
"We didn't do it at this late hour for drama; we did it because it's been very hard to arrive at this point," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said from the Senate floor. "If the American people have to make tough choices, and they are doing it every day, so should their leaders."
The $38 billion falls short of the $61 billion passed by the House more than a month ago. Lakeland Rep. Dennis Ross spoke for many freshmen Republicans when he said the reduction "is not what I was sent to cut."
But Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Miami, assailed Republicans for trying to inject social issues, including defunding Planned Parenthood, into the mix. "Republicans are playing a risky game with the lives of working people, and they will pay the price."
For all the drama, this was the easy lifting. Republicans and Democrats now face an intense battle over the 2012 budget, as well as a vote on whether to increase the federal debt ceiling.
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