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16 Oct, 2013 14:53

Senate leaders reach deal to avoid default, end shutdown

Lawmakers in the Senate are weighing a bipartisan bill that is expected to re-open the United States government and save the country from default.

During an early afternoon hearing on Capitol Hill on Wednesday, Senate majority leader Harry Reid (D-Nevada) acknowledged, “The eyes of the world have been on Washington all this week, and that is a gross understatement. And while they witnessed a great deal of political discourse, today they will also see Congress reaching a historic, bipartisan agreement.”

Earlier that day, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-New Hampshire) told the Associated Press that leaders in her chamber reached a deal that would end a shutdown now in its second week, while also raising the nation’s debt ceiling and in turn increasing the country’s ability to borrow from international lenders.

CNBC reported soon after that Republican Party senators planned to announce an agreement after 12p.m. EDT when they were scheduled to meet on Capitol Hill.

A deal would keep the government open through at least January 15, the AP reported, and the debt ceiling would be raised through February 7.

“The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs,” Sen. Reid said Wednesday afternoon.

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) confirmed that Republicans in his chamber agreed to the deal despite clear opposition over some provisions, and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told CNN he did not endorse the bill but had no plans on attempting to block it from passing.

Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio), the speaker of the House, is prepared to rely on Democratic votes in Congress to approve the bipartisan deal, NBC News correspondent Kelly O’Donnell heard from sources.

Moments earlier, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Georgia) told National Public Radio, "I think folks on both sides of the aisle in the Senate are ready to get this done.”

The federal government was slated to hit its borrowing limit as early as Thursday, setting the stage for an all-but certain default. On Tuesday, Fitch ratings warned the US of a possible credit downgrade. Upon news of a reported agreement on Wednesday, the Dow Jones industrial average surged 200 points.