Obama Signs Bill To Raise Debt Limit, Reopen Government

After shutting down the U.S. government for 16 days and driving the nation toward the brink of default, a chastened Congress voted late Wednesday to reopen federal agencies, call hundreds of thousands of civil servants back to work and raise the $16.7 trillion debt limit.

President Barack Obama (L), House Speaker John Boehner (R)
President Barack Obama (L), House Speaker John Boehner (R)

The Senate overwhelmingly ratified the deal Wednesday evening, 81 to 18, with more than half of Senate Republicans voting yes.

US President Barack Obama signed the measure into law shortly after midnight,, reopening parks and monuments across the nation, restoring government services and putting furloughed federal employees back on the job, many of them in the Washington region.

“Employees should expect to return to work in the morning,” Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the White House budget director, said in a statement.

The measure also would guarantee those workers back pay for time spent at home, aid flood-ravaged Colorado and provide extra cash for fighting wildfires out West. And it would grant the District government, which relies on Congress to approve its budget, authority to manage its own affairs through the 2014 fiscal year.

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