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WASHINGTON, October 17. (ITAR-TASS). — President Barack Obama today has signed a bill approved by both houses of Congress.
The agreement provides for a temporary government funding until January 15, and an increase of the debt ceiling that would allow the United States to continue borrowing until February 7, 2014.
It is assumed that until that date Obama’s administration and the Republican opposition in Congress would continue talks on the parameters of the budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which began in the U.S. on October 1.
U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday evening approved after the Senate a bill to raise the debt ceiling and to resume government funding, allowing the country to avoid a default. 285 voted for the bill, 144 — against.
Threat of default and extraordinary measures
U.S. debt ceiling of $16.7 trillion, set by law, has been established in May. Since then, the Ministry of Finance has been using the so-called extraordinary measures to avoid defaulting on debt of the country. These measures, as previously warned Head of U.S. Treasury Jacob Lew, could be exhausted today.
Fierce debate on the debt ceiling was complicated by the fact that the 2014 fiscal year began in the United States without the adoption of the federal budget. The House and Senate could not approve the necessary joint resolution to continue funding the government. In this regard, federal departments and agencies from October 1 were forced to send to unpaid leave about 800 thousand of the 2.1 million civil employees. A significant part of them - mostly in the Pentagon - were able to return to work afterwards.
The budget battle between the administration and the U.S. Congress had stalled - largely because of differences of principle on the new public health care program - the so-called Obamacare.
To date, the Republicans have made a revision of only one of the provisions of the law relating to governmental funding of health insurance. Under the new rules, applicants for such assistance will be required to provide proof of their financial status.