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Obama Signs Bill; US Shutdown Ends

18 October 2013

US - The 16-day shutdown has officially ended. US President Barack Obama has signed the bill that will reopen the government and raises the debt ceiling.

Weeks of bitter political fighting gave way to a frenzied night in Washington as Congress passed a bill Wednesday night that would end the partial government shutdown and prevent the country from crashing into the debt ceiling.

Congress worked precariously close to the midnight debt ceiling deadline amid warnings the government could run out of money to pay its bills if it didn't hike the debt ceiling. But the deal is only a temporary fix.

Federal workers should expect to return to work Thursday morning, the director of the Office of Management and Budget said.

National Farmers Union President Roger Johnson said: "Last night’s action by Congress ended a shutdown of our government and will return agencies back to normal operating status. This is good news for family farmers, ranchers and rural residents who were left without critical services for far too long.

"It was promising to hear President Obama mention specifically the unfinished business that is the farm bill in his address to the nation last night. Now that conferees have been named, it is time for the committee to get down to business and take action to bring certainty to our family farmers, ranchers, fishermen, rural residents and hungry neighbors.

"We have already had discussions with some of the members of the conference committee, and will continue to do so in the coming days. NFU will continue to encourage the conferees to maintain permanent law, establish fixed reference prices for commodity programs, enact an inventory management tool as part of the dairy safety net, provide $900 million in mandatory funding for renewable energy efforts, oppose adverse amendments to Country-of-Origin Labeling, and include adequate funding levels for the Farmers Market and Local Foods Promotion Program.

"With the support of the president, we have reached the critical time for Congress to make some real progress and pass a farm bill this year."

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