Deal reached: Government to reopen, avoid default--for now

In an 11th-hour move, Senate leaders announced a bipartisan deal to end the government shutdown and avoid an unprecedented debt default, CNN reports.

The race against time ended shortly after noon today when the Senate released a statement that the proposed agreement would allow the government to receive enough money to stay open until Jan. 15 and raise the nation's credit limit to last through Feb. 7, according to Yahoo News.

However, the deal--which sets up budget negotiations between the House and Senate for a long-term spending plan--also must pass the House, and both chambers need to take special steps to get the legislation approved and to President Barack Obama's desk before the government's ability to borrow money expires on Thursday at midnight. 

UPI reports the proposal includes no major concessions to the healthcare reform law--which led to the impasse and government shutdown. But it does require the administration to verify the income of those who apply for insurance subsidies. The Affordable Care Act does include that requirement, but the administration delayed verification for technical reasons, according to UPI.

Obama praised the deal and stated he hoped Congress will pass it "as soon as possible," spokesman Jay Carney told reporters at his daily briefing, according to Yahoo News.  

"He looks forward to Congress acting so that he can sign legislation that will reopen the government and will remove this threat from our economy," Carney said.

The shutdown took effect Oct. 1 and put 800,000 government employees out of work and healthcare initiatives in jeopardy. During the last 16 days, the National Institutes of Health stopped admitting any new patients, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was unable to monitor the spread of flu and other infectious diseases, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid stopped its healthcare fraud and abuse operations, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality stopped funding new grants and contracts for research on patient safety improvement and healthcare-associated infection prevention.

For more:
- read the CNN coverage
- here's the Yahoo News article
- check out the UPI article