Lawmakers in Washington reached an eleventh-hour agreement Wednesday to end the partial government shutdown, passing a bill that reopened the federal agencies and raised the debt ceiling.
After the House adopted legislation that originated in the Senate, the bill was rushed to the White House for President Obama’s signature and reportedly arrived just nine minutes before the midnight debt ceiling deadline.
Speaking Thursday morning at the White House, Obama said the shutdown “inflicted unnecessary damage [to] our economy. Just the threat of default … increased our borrowing costs, which adds to our deficit.”
However, he added: “We’ll bounce back from this. We always do. America is the bedrock of the global economy for a reason … because we keep our word and we [meet] our obligations.”
On the Republican side, House Speaker John Boehner has avoided the cameras since the budget deal was announced. He did grant an interview to a radio station in his home state, WLW in Cincinnati.
“We fought the good fight. We just didn’t win,” he told Cincinnati’s WLW. “Every time I’ve gotten into a discussion with the President, the Democrats here in Washington, and talk about entitlement changes, trying to make these programs sustainable, all they want to do is raise taxes. Well, we can’t do that.
For the first time since the 16-day shutdown began, employees who had been furloughed began arriving for work at the Federal Building in Westwood.
Few of them, however, seemed willing to discuss the shutdown and their return to work: Of the 50 people that a reporter attempted to speak to as they entered the building, only one agreed to comment.
“While you’re working, you’re thinking about the other people that aren’t working,” a federal employee, who asked not to be identified by name, told KTLA. She added: “It’s kind of cruel. But I’m glad the government has at least got an extension for a time, so that we can get back to work.”