With an effort from Rep. Brad Schneider (D-Deerfield) and other members of the House Bipartisan Working Group, the United States House of Representatives voted 185-144 tonight to end the government shutdown and raise the nation’s debt ceiling.
Schneider voted with 197 other Democrats and 86 Republicans to end the 16-day shutdown while 144 Republicans voted against the measure passed earlier today by the United States Senate, in a vote that also crossed party lines, 81-18. Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Highland Park) favored the measure.
“The key thing is we reopened the government and avoided a default,” Schneider said. “The fact that we even got here and came to the brink is rather disturbing.”
The final legislation will fund the government through Jan. 13 and keeps the debt ceiling in place until Feb. 7. In a separate agreement, members of the House and Senate agreed to participate in a Conference Committee to agree on a permanent budget by Dec. 13 which will end the need for continuing resolutions through the rest of the fiscal year, according to a report on Politico.
Earlier Wednesday, Schneider met with the 23 other Democrats and 16 Republicans who are part of the House Bipartisan Working Group formed Oct. 3 to help break the impasse that led to the Sept. 30 shutdown.
“We’ve been meeting together regularly to build trust and find ways to break the impasse,” Schneider said. Schneider promised the night he was elected his top priority was breaking the gridlock in Washington.
Schneider and his colleagues in the group plan to use the relationships and cooperation they developed to aid the effort that will take place now as the House and Senate work together to develop a budget for the 2014 fiscal year.
“We hope to build on this trust to come up with solutions to our fiscal (situation) that are not put on the back of those who are most vulnerable and make sure we don’t do it in a way we end up at this point again.”
Like Schneider in the House, Kirk was part of a bipartisan Senate group of 13 working on the effort. Kirk is hopeful the Conference Committee will be successful.
“It is my hope both parties will continue working together on a 'big deal' with spending cuts and reforms to entitlements and the tax code so that we can give our markets and the American people the stability they need and deserve,” Kirk said in a prepared statement.