WASHINGTON -- Up against a deadline, Congress passed and sent a waiting President Barack Obama legislation late Wednesday night to avoid a threatened national default and end the 16-day partial government shutdown, the culmination of an epic political drama that placed the U.S. economy at risk.
The Senate voted first, a bipartisan 81-18 at midevening. That cleared the way for a final 285-144 vote in the Republican-controlled House about two hours later on the legislation, which hewed strictly to the terms Obama laid down when the twin crises erupted more than three weeks ago.
The legislation would permit the Treasury to borrow normally through Feb. 7 or perhaps a month longer, and fund the government through Jan. 15. More than 2 million federal workers would be paid -- those who had remained on the job and those who had been furloughed.
In Ogden, Lori Roach may be returning to work as an IRS customer service representative, where she has been employed for 27 years.
But she said she won't stop feeling helpless when she is back to work.
That's because she's angry at having had to stay home while her work piled up.
The 51-year-old said the government shutdown reminds her of immature children trying to get their way.
"It's just like a playground argument," she said. " 'I won't play if I can't have my way. I'm not going to contribute, I'm not going to participate. I'm not going to do my job.' "
Roach said as a government employee, she is held to a higher standard, not only at work but in her daily life.
But that's not the example she sees her government leaders doing.
"They are not behaving appropriately. They are not having the American people in mind with every decision they make. They are worried more about their political agenda than they are this country. They don't care what they do to us."
And in statements released by Congressmen representing the Top of Utah, there was plenty of political discussion.
U.S. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee, said he didn't believe the bill that was finally approved was perfect, but that it was a path to reopen the government and prevent an economy-shaking default.
"When Republicans control only one-half of one-third of the federal government, we have to understand what is achievable and what is not," he said in a statement released by his office.
"Too many were led to believe we could accomplish something that was never possible -- namely defunding ObamaCare through a government shutdown. ... One of the changes I pushed for was a repeal of the medical device tax, which impacts more than 10,000 jobs in Utah alone."
Hatch called for President Obama to participate in limiting spending.
"Washington's runaway spending is going to swallow us whole unless we act, and that's going to require the President to step into the fray and be the leader he was elected to be," he said.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, expressed his disdain over the legislation that was passed Wednesday because he had little time to read and evaluate the bill and explain it.
"This is Washington," he said. "It is exactly the kind of thing the American people are fed up with and exactly why several of my colleagues and I began this effort to defund and delay Obamacare back in July."
He said the fight was ending in much the same way Obamacare began -- "in a last-minute deal, negotiated in back rooms, then forced on Congress and the American people."
In a prepared statement, Lee said Washington didn't listen to the American people.
"And when the American people can no longer be ignored, the administration shuts down national parks, blocks veterans from going to their own memorials, uses the IRS to target certain groups, and holds hostage critical funding for cancer research, low-income women and children, veterans' health benefits, border security, and our National Guard," he said. "It is shameful how Washington treats the American people and the people are right to be upset about it."
He said he often was asked if the fight was worth it.
"My answer is that it is always worth it to do the right thing," he said. "Fighting against an abusive government in defense of protecting our individual rights and freedoms is always the right thing."
A spokesman for Hill Air Force base did not comment about the end to the government shutdown because workers there already had returned to work last week.
At the White House, Obama hailed the Senate's vote and encouraged the House to follow suit.
Once the measure reaches his desk, he said, "I will sign it immediately. We'll begin reopening our government immediately, and we can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty from our businesses and the American people."
Less than an hour later, as debate began in the House, Rep. Harold Rogers, R-Ky., said, "After two long weeks, it is time to end this government shutdown. It's time to take the threat of default off the table. It's time to restore some sanity to this place."
The stock market surged higher at the prospect of an end to the crisis that also had threatened to shake confidence in the U.S. economy overseas.
Republicans conceded defeat after a long struggle. "We fought the good fight. We just didn't win," conceded House Speaker John Boehner as lawmakers lined up to vote on a bill that includes nothing for GOP lawmakers who had demand to eradicate or scale back Obama's signature health care overhaul.
"The compromise we reached will provide our economy with the stability it desperately needs," said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, declaring that the nation "came to the brink of disaster" before sealing an agreement.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, who negotiated the deal with Reid, emphasized that it preserved a round of spending cuts negotiated two years ago with Obama and Democrats.
As a result, he said, "government spending has declined for two years in a row" for the first time since the Korean War. "And we're not going back on this agreement," he added.
Only a temporary truce, the measure set a time frame of early next winter for the next likely clash between Obama and the Republicans over spending and borrowing.
The Associated Press contributed to this article.
Contact reporter JaNae Francis at 801-625-4228 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter at @jfrancis.