After 16 days, the stalemate on Capitol Hill has ended with compromise legislation drafted in the U.S. Senate to end the government shutdown and fund the government through Jan. 15.
The legislation continues to fund Obamacare with slight additional income verification rules; it also increased the $16.7 million debt ceiling just one day before a deadline from the U.S. Treasury Department.
The Senate passed the bill, 81-18. Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey voted yes; Pat Toomey voted no.
“I am grateful that the Senate was able to move forward with a bipartisan agreement to reopen the government and avoid default,” said Casey. “Pennsylvanians deserve better than the irresponsible brinksmanship they saw over the last few weeks.”
Toomey said he supported reopening the government, but he opposed raising the debt limit, according to PoliticsPA.
“I disagreed with the plan to make funding the government contingent on defunding Obamacare and I am glad this bill will get the shutdown behind us,” he said, according to the political website. “But I cannot support piling hundreds of billions of dollars of debt on current and future generations of Americans without even a sliver of reform to start putting our fiscal house in order.”
H.R. 2775, the Continuing Appropriations Act, 2014, passed in the house, 285-144; all Democrats approved the bill and Republicans opposed it 144 to 87, but nine of 13 Republican representatives voted yes, according to PoliticsPA.
Nine of 13 Pennsylvania representatives voted for the bill: area representatives include Charlie Dent (R-15), Mike Fitzpatrick (R-08), Jim Gerlach (R-06) and Pat Meehan (R-07). Lou Barletta (R-11), Mike Kelly (R-03), Tim Murphy (R-18), Bill Shuster (R-04) an GT Thompson (R-05) also voted for the bill.
“This legislation puts government back to work, sets reasonable deadlines for finding solutions that address Washington's spending-driven debt addiction and tightens the eligibility rules for Obamacare subsidies in an effort to save taxpayers as much as $250 million a year by preventing fraudulent and improper payments,” said Gerlach in a statement. “At a time when far too many Americans continue to struggle to find work and make ends meet, this bill eliminates the serious risk of greater economic chaos.”
Representatives Tom Marino (R-10), Scott Perry (R-04), Joe Pitts (R-16) and Keith Rothfus (R-12) voted against the bill.
“The lesson that should be learned is that elected officials in Washington, D.C. must come together and negotiate before the eleventh hour," said Rothfus. My hope is that my colleagues on both sides of the aisle are now ready to sit down and do the important work of the American people: address the deficit, find a better way on health care reform, and get the economy booming again.”