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US government shutdown: LIVE UPDATES

Published time: October 01, 2013 02:09
Edited time: October 17, 2013 15:07
U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media in the briefing room of the White House in Washington after the Senate passed the bill to reopen the government, October 16, 2013 (Reuters / Yuri Gripas)

U.S. President Barack Obama speaks to the media in the briefing room of the White House in Washington after the Senate passed the bill to reopen the government, October 16, 2013 (Reuters / Yuri Gripas)

The US government shutdown has ended 16 days after it shuttered federal agencies and put nearly one million workers on mandatory leave. An eleventh hour agreement spared a potentially catastrophic debt default and promised future negotiations.

Thursday, October 17

15:00 GMT: Although Congress has agreed to raise the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling, ending a 16-day partial government shutdown, the relief rally that started on Wall Street on Wednesday has largely petered out. The dollar was down sharply and stock markets drifted lower. The key indicator of business activity in the US, the Dow Jones Industrial Average, lost 0.71 percent, with S&P slipping 0.19 percent and NASDAQ declining 0.18 percent.

“The government remains the biggest wild card for end of the year growth,” said Lindsey Piegza, chief economist at Sterne Agee, a privately-owned brokerage in New York. “A dysfunctional government is further undermining confidence and exacerbating cautious spending patterns.”

14:07 GMT: The National Zoo in Washington will turn its Giant Panda cam back on, now that the shutdown is over,  by about 10 am local time on Thursday. The zoo will also be posting pictures and video of the two-month-old female giant panda cub on Flickr and YouTube.

12:05 GMT: China, United States' biggest creditor, has welcomed the end of the shutdown, through a statement voiced by its foreign ministry.

04:30 GMT: US President Barack Obama has signed a compromise bill to end the US government shutdown after 16 days, and raise the debt ceiling just hours before the October 17 deadline. The legislation funds the government through to January 15 and lifts the $16.7 trillion debt ceiling until February 7.

03:23 GMT: The Office of Management and Budget has indicated that employees currently on furlough should plan on going to work tomorrow.

Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the director of the OMB, issued the following:

Now that the bill has passed the United States Senate and the House of Representatives, the President plans to sign it tonight and employees should expect to return to work in the morning. Employees should be checking the news and OPM’s website for further updates.”

03:11 GMT: 

02:50 GMT: Staff on the House floor appeared confused toward the end of the vote when the House stenographer ran to the microphone and shouted “He will not be mocked.” 

The greatest deception here,” the woman, who those nearby called Molly, continued, “is this is not one nation under god. It never was. Had it been…the constitution would not have been written by freemasons. They go against god. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to god.” 

Representative Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) told the Washington Post the woman is well-known and universally liked. 

I think there’s a lot of sympathy, because something clearly happened here,” Connolly said. She was escorted off the House floor.


02:28 GMT: The House of Representatives voted to pass (285-144) the Senate's bill to fund government and end the government shutdown, along with raising the debt ceiling. The legislation now heads to the president for his signature.

01:50 GMT: President Obama is set to deliver remarks on the need for bi-partisan efforts to deal with fiscal issues, citing the 11th hour deal in Congress to fund government and avert a debt default, though the House had yet to actually pass the Senate's bill.  

Addressing reporters after a successful Senate vote, Obama indicated he would address the matter again.  

"I'll have more to say about this tomorrow, and I've got some thoughts about how we can move forward in the remainder of the year, stay focused on the job at hand."

00:30 GMT: The US Senate has passed a bill that will raise the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown by a vote of 81 to 18. The legislation now travels to the House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass. 

Senators Rand Paul, Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz were among the 18 lawmakers who voted to continue the shutdown and risk US default. 

President Obama said in a statement after the Senate vote that he would sign the legislation "immediately" after passage by the House. 

"Hopefully next time, it won't be in the eleventh hour. We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis,” Obama said.

Wednesday, October 16

21:30 GMT: The Senate is expected to vote on legislation to raise the debt ceiling and reopen government at around 22:00 GMT (6pm ET) according to an aide cited by Reuters. The House would then likely debate and pass the Senate's bill later on Wednesday, and send it to President Obama to sign into law.

If the bill passes, as is widely expected, furloughed government employees could be recalled back to work as soon as Thursday.

20:45 GMT: The S&P ratings agency declared Wednesday the shutdown has subtracted $24 billion from the US economy, cutting 0.6 percent from the fourth quarter GDP growth. While the shutdown is widely expected to end after a congressional vote Wednesday, S&P warned that the temporary solution lawmakers have agreed upon could pose a threat to the upcoming holiday spending season. 

If people are afraid that the government policy brinksmanship will resurface again, and with it the risk of another shutdown or worse, they’ll remain afraid to open up their checkbooks. That points to another Humbug holiday season,” the S&P release stated. 

20:33 GMT: US financial markets surged Wednesday as word spread that the US will, by all accounts, end the government shutdown and avoid a debt default. The Dow rose by 205 Wednesday, with the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index (SPX) 1.4 percent to 1,721.47 by Wednesday afternoon in New York. 

Investors are relieved that it looks like we’re not going to go over the cliff,” Ben Hart, a research analyst at the Pennsylvania-based Haverford Trust Co., told Bloomberg News. “It takes the worst case scenario off the table.” 

The SPX has recovered from its 4 percent decline and is up 21 percent in 2013. 

Traders signal offers in the Standard & Poor's 500 stock index options pit at the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) on October 16, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois (Scott Olson / Getty Images / AFP)

20:25 GMT: Heritage Action for America, the conservative lobby group, opposes the Senate bill and warned politicians that it would closely watch the House vote Wednesday night.

Unfortunately, the proposed deal will do nothing to stop Obamacare’s massive new entitlement from taking root – radically changing the nature of American health care,” the statement read in part.

20:19 GMT: The US Chamber of Commerce is encouraging lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives to vote “yes” Wednesday on a bill that will temporarily raise the debt limit and end the government shutdown. The Chamber also warned that a default would not force Washington into spending less, it would only worsen the long term economic situation. 

The consequences to the US economy and the American business community of a default are too extreme to be allowed to occur,” Bruce Josten, the senior most lobbyist in the Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement. 

19:40 GMT: House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) confirmed that Republican representatives have no plans to block the bipartisan bill and told reporters that he expects the government to be up-and-running as early as Thursday morning.

U.S. Speaker of the House Rep. John Boehner (Alex Wong / Getty Images / AFP)

17:00 GMT: White House press secretary Jay Carney said during an afternoon briefing that the president applauds the bipartisan agreement reached earlier this day and said Mr. Obama believes the deal will indeed reopen the government and remove the threat of economic brinksmanship. The president will reportedly sign the deal if it makes it out of the Capitol and to the Oval Office.

16:18 GMT: A bipartisan compromise has been reached in the Senate to raise the debt limit, US Senate majority Reid has said. Senate Minority Leader McConnell has confirmed the deal. 

The deal will still have to be passed in the House even if the Senate passes it. But Reid said he is “optimistic that the spirit of compromise ... will endure.

It has been a long, challenging few weeks for Congress and for the country,” McConnell said. “It is my hope that today we can put some of those most urgent issues behind us.”

15:35 GMT: Dow jumps 200 points, or 1.3 percent, to 15,370 in late morning trading amid reports that a deal on the debt ceiling and government shutdown is near. Rates on short-term US government debt also fell as investors became less nervous about a possible default, Associated Press reports.

15:30 GMT: Latest reports indicate that House Republicans are still unsure if they will move first on a bipartisan bill drafted in the Senate that would finally end the government shutdown. Rep. Kevin McCarthy (R-California) told journalists with Reuters on Wednesday that "no decisions have been made yet," but earlier reports suggested that the bill could be approved by the House today, then sent to the Senate where approval is all but certain.

14:28 GMT: The House will vote first on the negotiated Senate proposal to lift the debt ceiling and end the government shutdown, the Politico blog reports. In case the bill passes in the House, the Senate would be required to do only one procedural roll call with a 60-vote threshold to advance the bill toward final passage in the Senate. However, in order to pass, the legislation must garner the support of at least 117 Republicans – a number “unlikely” to be reached, according to senior GOP sources cited by the blog.

14:00 GMT: US Senate leaders holding talks on legislation to raise the country’s debt limit and reopen government agencies are “very close” to striking a deal, which could be announced soon, a senior Senate Democratic aide told Reuters on Wednesday. There are also “indications” that the Senate might be able to move quickly to pass it, the aide said on condition of anonymity, adding that talks are underway to try and move legislation quickly through the House of Representatives as well.