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Default: Senate and Congress pass bill. $250 billion in defense cuts. Obama signed it.

Brave U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Gifford is back in Congress.Pictures show Gifford before being shot (left), and Gifford in May 17th 2011. (Photo Credit to AP Photo/Susan Walsh/P.K. Weis)


Emergency legislation to allow the government to continue borrowing more money passed the Senate Tuesday, was slated to hit its ceiling. The strong bipartisan vote was 74-26. This time, the bipartisan agreement got the vote of the vast majority of democrats within the Senate, which supported Obama.

In a statement to the press, Obama said the bill is just the first step to ensuring the country lives within its means. From the Rose Garden, Obama said, “This compromise requires that both parties work together on a larger plan.”He added, “We’ll need a balanced approach where everything is on the table.”

He signed the bill shortly after his comments.

Late Monday, the U.S. House of Representatives also voted to approve the deal between President Obama and Republicans to raise the debt limit, voting 269-161 (mostly republicans) for a bill that would cut government spending by trillions – f.e. 250 billion in defense cuts, can raise up to one trillion in the next months- and effectively raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012.

The bill, which was brokered Sunday night in last-minute negotiations between the White House and Congressional leaders, passed with the support of 174 Republicans and 95 Democrats. This is a costly victory for a politically weakened President Obama,  who did not manage to get the support of a majority of democrats representatives in the Congress, but performed better in the Senate.

Among those who voted to support the bill was Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., who returned to Washington for the vote. This was Giffords’ first vote in Congress since the January 8th shooting in Tucson, Arizona, in which she was seriously wounded in the head by a psicotic extreme right activist.