Senate leaders have reached a last-minute agreement to avert a threatened US default and reopen the government.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced on Wednesday that a bipartisan deal had been struck to end the fiscal impasse.

Speaking on the Senate floor after more than two weeks of political wrangling over a deal, Mr Reid said: “This is a time for reconciliation.”

Earlier, Republican Senator Kelly Ayotte said congressional leaders would push for passage as soon as possible.

The deal, struck by Mr Reid and GOP Leader Mitch McConnell, calls for the Treasury to have authority to continue borrowing through February 7, and the government would reopen through January 15.

Sen Ayotte said she understood the legislation would first receive a vote in the Republican-controlled House, an arrangement that would speed its way through Congress to President Barack Obama’s desk.

The White House expressed optimism that the bipartisan plan would gain passage and urged Congress to act quickly.

Speaker John Boehner and the House Republican leadership met in a different part of the Capitol to plan their next move.

Notably absent from the pending agreement is a long-held Republican demand to defund aspects of Mr Obama’s signature health care law.

The Senate deal makes only one modest change in the programme that requires individuals and families seeking subsidies to verify their incomes before qualifying.

Senator Ted Cruz, a Tea Party favourite who has been a staunch opponent of any deal that did not include cuts to “Obamacare”, said he would vote against the measure but would not pursue delaying tactics to stall the legislation. see more

source: skynews