Senate Approves Budget Deal

Credit Carolyn Kaster / AP

(NPR) With less than four hours before the United States tops its borrowing authority, the Senate passed that would reopen the government and avert the first default in U.S. history.

The Senate, which scrambled to put together a deal after an agreement in the House crumbled on Wednesday, voted 81-18 in favor of the measure.

On the 16th day of a partial government shutdown and with almost no room for false moves, all eyes now turn to the chaotic chamber that started it all.

In the weeks leading up to this showdown, conservative House Republicans insisted that any bill that funds the government or lifts the debt ceiling also include language to either defund or delay the Affordable Care Act. Faced with the potential of a severe economic fallout and an unyielding opposition in the Democratically-controlled White House and Senate, Speaker of the House John Boehner relented, today.

"We fought the good fight, we just didn't win," Boehner told Cincinnati station WLW-AM. , he said while his party will continue to fight against Obamacare, Republicans would not block passage of the agreement crafted by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In other words, Boehner will allow the bill to receive an up or down vote and hope that a coalition of Democrats and Republicans can make up the 217 votes needed to send the bill to the White House for President Obama's signature.

"This legislation ends a standoff that ground the work of Washington to a halt this fall," Reid said, when he introduced the bill.

McConnell called the proposed deal "far less than many of us had hoped for, but far better than what some had thought."

"Pain has been inflicted on our nation for no good reason," Reid said during a press conference after the vote in the Senate. "We cannot make this mistake again."