WASHINGTON, Oct 16 (Reuters) - President Barack Obama said on Wednesday he will sign legislation to reopen the U.S. government and avert a debt default as soon as it reaches the White House.
Speaking after the Senate voted to end the fiscal impasse, but before the House of Representatives took a vote, Obama said the government will reopen immediately after he signs the bill, ending a 16-day shutdown.
"We can begin to lift this cloud of uncertainty and unease from our businesses and from the American people," he said.
The House was expected to take up the measure for final passage later on Wednesday.
Obama, who stuck to a commitment not to negotiate over extending the U.S. debt ceiling, said in the White House briefing room that Washington has much work remaining for the rest of this year. He mentioned overhauling U.S. immigration laws, passing a farm bill and working on a "sensible" budget that is fair to middle class America.
"There's a lot of work ahead of us, including our need to earn back the trust of the American people that's been lost over the last few weeks," he said.
The last-gasp agreement in Congress avoided yet again another close shave with a historic debt default but the deal sets up more debt and budget deadlines in the weeks and months ahead.
"Hopefully next time, it won't be in the 11th hour," said Obama.