Oct 16 2013, 2:12pm CDT | by IANS
Washington, Oct 16 — Hours before a looming midnight deadline, Democratic and Republican leaders Wednesday announced a deal to end the partial government shutdown, now in its 16th day, and avoid a possible US default.
With a key Republican conservative leader Senator Ted Cruz saying he wouldn't try to block the measure, it is now expected to proceed smoothly through both houses of Congress before it reaches President Barack Obama's desk.
"There is nothing to be benefited by delaying this vote a couple of days versus having it today," Cruz, who has been spearheading conservative strategy in the government shutdown fight, told reporters, emerging from a meeting of the Senate Republican conference Wednesday.
"The timing of the vote will make no difference in the outcome so I don't intend to delay the timing of the vote," he said.
The deal, which would fund the government through January 15 and raise the debt ceiling until Feb 7, is currently expected to be voted on by the Senate late Wednesday afternoon.
Both chambers would have to take special steps to get the legislation passed and to send it to Obama's desk before the current US debt ceiling expires Thursday.
Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, had been working overnight to finalise an agreement that had been in the works all week.
(Arun Kumar can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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