0

'Historic' deal halts government shutdown

WASHINGTON -- Perilously close to a government shutdown, President Obama and congressional leaders forged an agreement late Friday night on a deal to cut more than $37 billion in federal spending and avert the first closure in 15 years.

Obama hailed the deal as "the biggest annual spending cut in history," and House Speaker John Boehner said that over the next decade it would cut government spending by $500 billion.

"This is historic, what we've done," said the third man in the talks, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev.

They announced the agreement less than an hour before government funding was due to run out.

Still under the gun, lawmakers raced to pass an interim measure to prevent a shutdown, however brief, and keep the federal machinery running for the next several days.