As it happened: US debt deal

Key points

  • The US Senate and House of Representatives passed a last-gasp, cross-party deal to raise the debt limit and reopen the government
  • Before signing the bill into law, President Barack Obama said: 'We've got to get out of the habit of governing by crisis'
  • The US had to raise its $16.7tn (£10.5tn) debt limit by Thursday or risk default - All times Eastern US (GMT -4)

Live text


  • Tom Geoghegan 
  • Jude Sheerin 
  • Jasmine Coleman 

Last updated 17 October 2013


Welcome to our live page, which will bring you the latest updates as the US tries frantically to avoid a default on its debt.

Congress has one last day to hammer out a deal to raise the borrowing limit before it risks default on its debt. Experts have warned that failure to pay its bills could have dire economic consequences around the globe.


A lot happened - and didn't happen - on Tuesday, when the Republican-controlled House of Representatives tried and failed to find enough support among its members for its proposal to end the crisis.


That means the action today pivots back to the other house in Congress, the Senate, where leaders worked through the night to craft a deal. A spokesman for the Democratic majority leader, Harry Reid, said Mr Reid was "optimistic" an agreement was within reach.


Ted Cruz

If they do hatch a plan in the Senate, it could then be sent to the House of Representatives, which has repeatedly tried to exact concessions in relation to President Obama's signature healthcare law, a strategy led by Republican Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, above.


As the showdown enters its apparent endgame, liberal-leaning Daily Beast columnist Michael Tomasky describes the situation as "a sad and sickening spectacle, like nothing I've ever seen in my life.

"Not as bad as Watergate, you say? I beg to differ."

BLOG 0854

BBC News website readers comments

You have been commenting on the BBC story. Charlie1902 writes: The states could repay their debt and probably quicker than most people would think if the two parties would just negotiate lowering some spending WITH raising some taxes. swerdna says: No family, business or country can continue operating if expenses continue to exceed income.


The plan in the Senate would reportedly extend the federal borrowing limit until 7 February and fund the government to mid-January, and would include relatively minor changes to Mr Obama's signature healthcare law.


The twin political crises of the debt limit and government shutdown have played poorly for the Republican Party, with polls suggesting Americans are placing most of the blame for the mess on them.

Now, pollster Stuart Rothenberg sees evidence a Democratic wave is ahead in the 2014 midterm congressional elections.

"One thing that now appears incontestable is that [Republican] Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has damaged his party badly in the short term, making the GOP [Republicans Party] look extreme, confused, unreasonable and unappealing."


Large swathes of the US government have been closed for more than two weeks because of the same budget dispute, so any deal will aim to get all agencies of the federal government working again. Here's the shutdown explained.

TWEET 0906

Political analyst Taegan Goddard

tweets: If deal gets done today, watch Obama praise McConnell for taking on the right wing… It won't be very helpful in McConnell's primary.