Actual approval of the deal to fund the government through the end of fiscal 2011, Sept. 30, would come in mid-week.
When push came to shove Friday morning, Obama called John Boehner, the new Republican speaker of the House, according to a senior administration official. Obama told Boehner that they were the two most consequential leaders in the U.S. government and that if they had any hope of keeping the government open, their bargain had to be honored and could not be altered by staff, according to the official, who described behind-the-scenes negotiations on condition of anonymity.
Boehner said the agreement came after "a lot of discussion and a long fight," and he won an ovation from his rank and file, including the new tea party adherents whose victories last November shifted control of the House to the GOP. The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid (D-Nev.), also closely involved with the negotiations, called the deal "historic."
At the end of the day, all sides claimed victory—Republicans for the sheer size of the spending cuts and Obama and Reid for jettisoning Republican policy initiatives that would have blocked certain environmental regulations and made changes in a federal program that provides family planning services.
Not all policy "riders" were struck. One provision in the final deal would ban the use of federal or local government funds to pay for abortions in the District of Columbia. A program dear to Boehner that lets District of Columbia students use federally funded vouchers to attend private schools also survived.
The deal marked the end of a three-way clash of wills, but it also set the tone for coming confrontations over raising the government's borrowing limit, the 2012 budget and long-term deficit reduction.
Republicans had also included language to deny federal funding to implement the year-old health care law. The deal only requires such a proposal to be voted on by the Senate where it is certain to fall short of the required 60 votes.