Our long national nightmare—aka the partial shutdown of the federal government—is almost over. The Senate leadership has reached a bipartisan deal to end the government shutdown and avoid defaulting on debt service, reports CNN, The Washington Post and other outlets.
According to sources, the Senate deal under discussion would reopen the government, funding it until January 15. It would also raise the debt limit until February 7 to avert a possible default on U.S. debt obligations for the first time. It also would set up budget negotiations between the House and Senate for a long-term spending plan, and would include a provision to strengthen verification measures for people seeking government subsidies under Obama's signature health care reforms.
The focus shifted to the Senate after House Republicans failed on Tuesday to come up with a plan their majority could support, stymied again by demands from tea party conservatives for outcomes unacceptable to Obama and Senate Democrats, as well as some fellow Republicans.
The potential default on debt service could have happened as soon as midnight. The Chinese, Japanese and European have warned that the ramifications would be very serious across world financial markets.
Meanwhile: The extremist Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz has promised to vote against the deal but will not filibuster or "otherwise delay" Senate action—a key concession if the measure is to reach President Obama's desk before Thursday's deadline to raise the debt limit, notes USA Today. Sigh. Even a broke clock has the correct time twice a day.