POSTED: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 11:16pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, October 16, 2013 - 11:18pm
El Paso, TX (KTSM) — Tonight, America breathes a sigh of relief.
After weeks of bitter arguing between Democrats and Republicans, Congress finally reached a deal on Wednesday night to end the government shutdown, and extend the debt ceiling until February 7th.
"I think it's about time, I think it's wonderful. This should not have taken place to begin with," said Jaime Rodriguez.
"This is a great short term victory and I think it sets the stage for some really long term positive developments for our country," said U.S. Congressman Beto O'Rourke, a Democrat from El Paso.
Some El Pasoans didn't think the deal would happen.
"I'll believe it when I see it. These guys can't seem to get their acts together to save their lives," said Robert Andron.
House lawmakers voted 285 to 144 to end the shutdown and raise the debt ceiling - this following passage of the deal in the Senate.
"I think it's good that they ended the shutdown, that way people can feed their families and pay their bills," said Cedric Howard.
During the shutdown, national parks were closed and work at research centers was halted.
Some 800,000 government employees, including 43,000 from El Paso, were either furloughed or like U.S. Border Patrol agents, working without pay.
"I think they deserve an apology from both sides of the House. I don't think one side is any more guilty than the other. I think it was an all-around failure," said Carol Martin.
"I'm definitely relieved that this government shutdown is over because I know from personal experience as working for the government, even as, like a small life-guarding job, like, there's been a lot of discrepancies with all of this stuff that's going on," said Renata Isa.
Government operations reopen Thursday morning and federal workers who haven't gotten a pay check will receive back pay.
"It just helps a lot of Americans really realize the importance of voting, and realize the importance of going out and really learning how government works and really just how bad it can get," said Marco Herrera.
Not all local lawmakers voted "yes" on the deal.
New Mexico Congressman Steve Pearce voted "no."
Pearce said the agreement "does nothing to change our nation's dangerous course of reckless spending."
He said, "While I am happy that furloughed employees can go back to work, I will not be able to support tonight's legislation, which does nothing to address the problems we were elected to solve."