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WASHINGTON—After sixteen days of a shutdown, the House of Representatives voted to approve a Senate deal to end the U.S. federal shutdown and to extend the debt ceiling. The budget compromise won 285-144, a larger margin than anticipated. The final act by the House funds the government until January and allows the Treasury to borrow to pay expenses approved by Congress. It comes after the GOP in the House fought hard to postpone the Affordable Care Act of 2010 and keep down government costs.
"We fought the good fight. We just didn't win," summarized Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner (R-OH) to an Ohio radio station.
President Obama signed the Senate and House act into law shortly after midnight Thursday morning.
Franchisees and franchisors are already heaving a sigh of relief that the 16-day partial government shutdown is over, but they are also voicing concerns about the impact on their business.
"We are pleased that Congress has moved to resolve the government closures and possible default," stated franchisee Keith Miller late Wednesday night. Miller is chairman of the D.C.-based Coalition of Franchisee Associations, which represents the interests of franchise owners from some of the country's largest brands. "Our Congressional representatives need to get out of the shell of D.C. and understand that this sort of brinkmanship causes consumer uncertainty, real or imagined, which reduces sales and profits to franchisees. Our members have already been impacted, especially those in the hospitality industry," Miller adds. He says that although franchisees may be frustrated with some of the policies of the current administration,"Congress needs to learn to do their job without constantly pushing the limits of public confidence."
Earlier in the day Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) came up with an agreement to keep the government running after 16 days of a strongly contested face-off and government shutdown. The International Franchise Association, a lobbying group that represents primarily the interests of franchisors, praised the Senate. "We applaud the work by the Senate to set differences aside and act swiftly to avert a potential economic catastrophe by reaching a compromise that will provide business owners with some short-term certainty," said IFA CEO Steve Caldeira.
Vanessa Sinders, senior vice president and department head of governmental affairs for the American Hotel & Lodging Association, wrote members late Wednesday afternoon that an AH&LA letter sent to President Obama and every member of Congress has resulted in significant national media coverage. In it, owners, operators, and franchisees from nearly 70 brands urged policymakers to act now to open the U.S. government "before there is irreparable harm to the economy."