Debt-Ceiling Deal: President Obama Signs Bill as Next Fight Looms


"The American people sent a wave of new lawmakers to Congress in last November's election with a very clear mandate: to put our nation's fiscal house in order," McConnell said, "And I want to assure you today that although you may not see it this way, you've won this debate."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., concluded that the American people, not the Tea Party, are the real victors of the debate.

"There's one winner throughout all of this and that's the American people," Reid said on the Senate floor, adding that McConnell "boasted" about the Tea Party senators.

"I welcome them all," Reid said of the new Tea Party senators, "but as result of the Tea Party direction of this Congress, these last few months has been very very disconcerting and very unfair to the American people."

Meanwhile, the impact of the situation on the economy remains a matter of debate.

Republicans and some members of the Obama administration say the debt-ceiling increase and package of spending cuts put the country on a long-term course for economic stability and job growth.

"This agreement itself, on its own, doesn't create jobs. What it does is it avoids doing more damage in the short term, because the president refused to accept the types of deep spending cuts that many in Congress wanted," Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner said on "Good Morning America."

"You're going to see this basic underlying growth we've see in the United States improve over time because people will be more confident we can live within our means," he said. "With more confidence we can get our arms around this long term. We will have more room to do the things we need to strengthen investment jobs now."

But some Democrats and liberal economists disagree, saying the cuts enacted today will have an immediate negative impact on the economy.

"The spending cuts in 2012 and the failure to continue two key supports to the economy [the payroll tax holiday and emergency unemployment benefits for the long term unemployed] could lead to roughly 1.8 million fewer jobs in 2012, relative to current budget policy," said John S. Irons, an economist with the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute.

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