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中国日报网 2013-10-22 16:46



Senator Harry Reid ofNevada, the majority leader, left, and Senator Charles Schumer ofNew Yorkleft the Senate floor.


Congressional Republicans conceded defeat Wednesday in their bitter budget fight with President Obama over the new health care law, agreeing to end a disruptive 16-day government shutdown and extend federal borrowing power to avert a financial default with potential worldwide economic repercussions.

With Treasury warning it could run out of money to pay U.S. obligations within a day, the Senate voted overwhelmingly, 81-18, on Wednesday evening to approve a proposal hammered out by Republican and Democratic leaders after the House was unable to move forward with any resolution. The House was expected to follow suit within hours and approve the Senate plan, which would finance the government through Jan. 15 and raise the debt limit through Feb. 7.

Shortly after the vote, Mr. Obama praised Congress for action and said the vote cleared the way for substantive budget negotiations. "We now have an opportunity to focus on a sensible budget that is responsible, that is fair, that helps hard-working people all across this country,” he said.

The result of the fight, which threatened the federal credit rating, was a near total defeat for the Republican conservatives who had engineered the budget impasse as a way to strip the new health care law of financing even as registration for benefits opened Oct. 1 or, failing that, to win delays in putting the program into place.

Speaker John A. Boehner, the leader of conservative House Republicans whose push to strip money for the health law led to the shuttering of much of the government on Oct. 1, said that the House would not block a bipartisan agreement reached in the Senate that yielded virtually no concessions to the Republicans.

“We fought the good fight,” Mr. Boehner said in an interview with the radio station WLW-AM in Cincinnati. “We just didn’t win.”

In a statement issued as the Senate and the House prepared to vote on the proposal, Mr. Boehner said: “The fight will continue. But blocking the bipartisan agreement reached today by members of the Senate will not be a tactic for us.”

The decision came about 24 hours before the Treasury was due to exhaust its borrowing authority, putting the nation on the brink of a default. Mr. Boehner had earlier told colleagues privately that he would not allow the nation to default.

The Senate is expected to vote on the bill Wednesday evening, with final passage coming late Wednesday or early Thursday.

Under the agreement, the government would be funded through Jan. 15, and the debt ceiling would be raised until Feb. 7. The Senate will take up a separate motion to instruct House and Senate negotiators to reach accord by Dec. 13 on a long-term blueprint for tax and spending policies over the next decade.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, stressed that under the deal, which he negotiated with Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, the majority leader, budget cuts extracted in the 2011 fiscal showdown were not reversed, as some Democrats had wanted, a slim reed that not even he claimed as a significant victory.

The deal, Mr. McConnell said, “is far less than many of us hoped for, quite frankly, but far better than what some had sought.”

“It’s time for Republicans to unite behind other crucial goals,” he added.

Chastened Senate Republicans said they hoped the outcome would be a learning experience for lawmakers in the House and the Senate who shut down the government in hopes of gutting Mr. Obama’s signature domestic achievement, the Affordable Care Act. Instead of using the twin deadlines of an end to government funding and borrowing authority to address the drivers of the federal deficit, conservatives focused on a law they could never undo as long as Mr. Obama is president, several senators said.

“We took some bread crumbs and left an entire meal on the table,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina. “This has been a really bad two weeks for the Republican Party.”

Senator Richard Burr, Republican of North Carolina, took a swipe at Senators Ted Cruz, Republican of Texas, and Mike Lee, Republican of Utah, as well as House members who linked further funding of the government to gutting the health care law, which is financed by its own designated revenues and spending cuts.

“Let’s just say sometimes learning what can’t be accomplished is an important long-term thing,” Mr. Burr said, “and hopefully for some of the members they’ve learned it’s impossible to defund mandatory programs by shutting down the federal government.”

But while Mr. Cruz conceded defeat, he did not express contrition.

“Unfortunately, the Washington establishment is failing to listen to the American people,” he said as he emerged from a meeting of Senate Republicans called to ratify the agreement.

Mr. Cruz promised not to use parliamentary tactics to block a final vote, raising hopes that the government will be opened and the debt ceiling will be lifted before Thursday, when the Treasury exhausts its borrowing authority.

“From our side, I don’t see any evidence of delay,” said Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and a Cruz ally.

Jay Carney, the White House press secretary, said that Mr. Obama supported the compromise reached by the Senate leaders, and he urged lawmakers in both chambers to pass it quickly.

Mr. Carney said the agreement “achieves what’s necessary” to reopen the federal government after 16 days, and removes “the threat of economic brinksmanship” that raised the possibility of a government default.

“We leave parliamentary procedures to the Congress,” he said. “But we obviously hope that each house will be able to act swiftly. We are already on Day 16 of a wholly unnecessary shutdown of government.”
















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(译者 肉肉融 编辑 yaning)



















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