POLITICS: PennAve

White House 'applauds' Senate deal to end fiscal deadlock

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Politics,White House,Brian Hughes,Barack Obama,Obamacare,Health Care,Debt Ceiling,PennAve,Budgets and Deficits,Government Shutdown,Jay Carney

The White House welcomed a Senate deal Wednesday to end the federal government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling, saying the pact would “remove the threat of economic brinkmanship” if approved.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Obama fully supported the Senate proposal, expected to receive a vote later Wednesday. It is unclear how the House will move forward on the legislation.

Carney said Obama “applauds” lawmakers for “working together to forge this compromise.”

He added that the president “encourages Congress to act swiftly” to pass the deal.

Asked if the White House was confident that the GOP-controlled House would pass the compromise, Carney said “we are not putting odds on anything.”

“We are simply applauding the leaders of the Senate for reaching the agreement they reached and calling on both houses to act,” he said.

President Obama has long taken a hardline stance on keeping the government funded and increasing the nation's debt limit, refusing to negotiate with his Republican rivals over the fiscal maneuvers.

The political gamble appeared to pay off for the president, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., announced a blueprint Wednesday that would end the government shutdown now in its 16th day. The deal also avoids a potential default on Thursday, when the nation is poised to hit its borrowing limit.

Under a deal crafted by Senate leaders, the nation’s borrowing limit would be extended through Feb. 7 and the government funded through Jan. 15. A bipartisan budget committee would also report back by Dec. 13 on a possible broader fiscal package.

House Republicans, who launched the government shutdown fight with a laser-like focus to dismantle Obamacare, will have to settle for a slight tweak to the president's signature legislative achievement.

The legislation includes a measure to verify income levels for those seeking Obamacare benefits. The framework does not delay a medical device tax or eliminate health care subsidies given to Congress and their staffs -- provisions included in earlier GOP proposals.

The Treasury Department would also retain the ability to use so-called “extraordinary measures” to pay the federal government’s bills if the debt ceiling is not lifted by Feb. 7.

Asked if the White House had won the fight over the shutdown, Carney said “there are no winners here."

"The American people paid a price for this," he added.

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