Obama signed the measure into law shortly after midnight,reopening parks and monuments across the nation, restoring government services and putting furloughed federal employees back on the job, many of them in the Washington region.
In his remarks Thursday morning, Obama said the shutdown and the threat of a U.S. default probably slowed economic growth, set back hiring and increased borrowing costs, adding to deficit that has been shrinking.
“That’s not a surprise that the American people are completely fed up with Washington,” Obama said. “At a moment when our economic recovery demands more jobs, more momentum, we’ve got yet another self-inflicted crisis that set our economy back. And for what? There was no economic rationale for all of this.”
He added: “Probably nothing has done more damage to America’s credibility in the world, our standing with other countries, than the spectacle that we’ve seen these past several weeks. It’s encouraged our enemies, it’s emboldened our competitors, and it’s depressed our friends, who look to us for steady leadership.”
Obama predicted that “we’ll bounce back from this,” but he cautioned that it “won’t be easy.” He said, “There’s a lot of noise out there, and the pressure from the extremes affect how lot of members of Congress see the day-to-day work that’s supposed to be done here.”
“So let’s work together to make government work better instead of treating it like an enemy or purposely making it work worse,” Obama said. “Don’t break what our predecessors spent over two centuries building.”
He said he had a simple message “for all the dedicated and patriotic federal workers” who were furloughed or worked without pay during the shutdown: “Thank you. Thanks for your service. Welcome back. What you do is important. It matters. You defend our country overseas. You deliver benefits to our troops, who have earned them, when they come home. You guard our borders. You protect our civil rights. You help businesses grow and gain footholds in overseas markets. You protect the air we breathe and the water our children drink, and you push the boundaries of science and space, and you guide hundreds of thousands of people each day through the glories of this country.”
But Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), a leading opponent of Obama’s health-care law, declined to rule out another shutdown over the issue. “I will continue to do anything to stop the train wreck that is Obamacare,” Cruz told ABC News on Thursday. Pressed on whether he would rule out a second shutdown, he said only that he would “stand with the American people working to stop Obamacare.”
The measure Obama signed into law early Thursday guarantees federal workers back pay for time spent at home, aids flood-ravaged Colorado and provides extra cash for fighting wildfires in the West. And it grants the D.C. government, which relies on Congress to approve its budget, authority to manage its own affairs through the 2014 fiscal year.
Enforcement of the debt limit is suspended until Feb. 7, setting up another confrontation over the national debt sometime in March, independent analysts estimated. Meanwhile, federal agencies are funded through Jan. 15, when they might shut down again unless lawmakers resolve a continuing dispute over deep automatic spending cuts known as the sequester.