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President Signs Bill to Extend Debt Ceiling and End Government Shutdown

October 18, 2013—President Obama Oct. 17 signed legislation (H.R. 2775) to extend the federal debt ceiling through Feb. 7, 2014, averting a possible government default.  The bill also includes a continuing resolution (CR) to provide discretionary funding at an annualized rate of $986 billion through Jan. 15, 2014, ending the partial shutdown of the federal government that began Oct. 1 [see Washington Highlights, Oct. 4].

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) brokered the deal after weeks of rancorous, partisan conflict.

The Senate Oct. 16 approved the bill, 81-18.  The House subsequently passed the measure, 285-144, with 198 Democrats and 87 Republicans voting for the agreement.  A total of 144 Republicans, including House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) voted no.

The final deal includes a separate agreement that the House and Senate will appoint a conference committee, headed by House Budget Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Budget Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.), to develop a longer-term spending plan by Dec. 13. Republicans had rejected 21 previous requests to conference on the budget.

The final agreement requires the Secretary of Health and Human Services to certify to Congress that the insurance exchanges are verifying individuals’ eligibility for subsidies to help them purchase insurance before the subsidy funds are made available in 2014.  However, the bill omits a delay or repeal of the medical device tax created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA, P.L. 111-148 and P.L. 111-152) as proposed earlier in the negotiations.

Republicans were unsuccessful in their efforts to use the government shutdown and the possibility of a government default to limit or delay the ACA.  However, the agreement also leaves in place the across-the-board sequestration cuts, which are likely to be a key target for Democrats in the next round of negotiations. 


Dave Moore
Senior Director, Government Relations
Telephone: 202-828-0559


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Washington Highlights, a weekly electronic newsletter, features brief updates on the latest legislative and regulatory activities affecting medical schools and teaching hospitals.

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Jason Kleinman
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Telephone: 202-903-0806