WASHINGTON, D.C. - The government reopened it's doors Thursday after a battle-weary Congress approved a bipartisan measure Wednesday that ended a 16-day partial shutdown and avoided the possibility of a federal default.
President Barack Obama signed the measure early Thursday morning and ended a brawl with Republicans who tried to use the must-pass legislation to mount a last-ditch effort that would derail Obama's landmark health care law and demand concessions on the budget.
The impasse shuttered National Parks and closed down NASA and the Environmental Protection Agency. Critical government functions went on as usual, but the closure and potential default weight on the economy and spooked financial markets. Standard and Poors estimated the shutdown took $24 billion out of the economy.
"Our nation can breathe a collective sigh of relief," said Rep. Nick Rahall, "However temporary it may be, we should hope and pray that cooler heads will prevail before we must revisit these issues early next year."
"I would love to see us have a target date for a balanced budget amendment, that would be something I think we can work toward and don't have these artificial crisis every three, six, or nine months. If we're moving the right direction and year out we're going to have a balanced budget because we're going, then we shouldn't have to have these pre-fab crisis," said Sen. Joe Manchin.
The measure Obama signed restored government funding though January 15 and extended the borrowing authority through February 7.