U.S. House votes for short-term debt ceiling fix, averting default

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WASHINGTON (Businesshala) – The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives on Tuesday gave final approval to legislation temporarily raising the government’s borrowing limit to $28.9 trillion, only pushing the loan default deadline until December.

FILE PHOTO: An American flag flies outside the US Capitol dome in Washington, US, January 15, 2020. Businesshala / Tom Brenner

Democrats, who narrowly control the House, maintained party discipline to pass the tough fight, raising the $480 billion debt limit here to 219-206. The vote was party-wide, with Democrats every yes and Republicans every no.

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President Joe Biden is expected to sign the measure into law before October 18, when the Treasury Department estimated it would no longer be able to pay off the nation’s debt without Congressional action.

The House passage brushed off concerns that the United States – the world’s largest economy – would go into default at first, but the temporary expansion set the stage for continued fighting between the parties.

Democratic Representative Richard Neill, chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, said: “We have temporarily postponed the crisis before the next week’s deadline, but come December, members of Congress need to put the country before the party and let default.” must stop.”

Republicans insist that Democrats must take full responsibility for raising the debt limit as their party seeks to expand social programs and spend trillions of dollars to tackle climate change.

Democrats say increased lending authority is needed to cover the cost of tax cuts and spending programs during former Republican President Donald Trump’s administration, which Congressional Republicans supported.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell wrote to Biden on Friday that he would not work with Democrats on another debt limit increase. Republican Party leader Trump strongly criticized McConnell after the Senate vote.

McConnell wrote to Biden, “I will not favor any future effort to mitigate the consequences of Democratic mismanagement,” adding that another huge spending bill would harm Americans and help China.

Lawmakers have only until December 3 to fund the government and pass legislation to stop the shutdown.

More partisan fighting ahead

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday she expected a bipartisan solution to the debt ceiling issue.

Pelosi said a Democratic proposal to allow the Treasury Department to lift the debt limit, Congress has the ability to eliminate it “has merit.”

He also reiterated that Democrats do not want to use a procedural maneuver called conciliation to raise the ceiling. If Republicans do not cooperate, the reconciliation would allow Democrats to raise the ceiling to 51 votes instead of the 60 required by the Senate’s filibuster rule.

Last week the Senate vote to raise the limit – which was more routine before the current era of fierce partisanship – turned into a controversy. Republicans attempted to link the measure to Biden’s goal to pass a multitrillion-dollar legislation to strengthen infrastructure and social services while fighting climate change.

Pelosi said he is optimistic that Democrats can make changes to reduce the cost of their social policy plans by October 31.

In another sign a compromise was possible, progressive Democrats told reporters that most of them would like to put all proposed programs into a multitrillion-dollar bill, while shortening the time period to cut its overall cost.

Biden has suggested a cost limit of about $2 trillion, instead of the initial $3.5 trillion target. Pelosi said she won’t bring the law to the House floor if it can’t pass the Senate, where liberal Democrats Joe Manchin and Kristen Cinema both say they can’t support the $3.5 trillion cost.

The months-long battle over debt limits stems from the November 2022 congressional elections, when Republicans are trying to secure a majority in both the House and Senate.

Democratic lawmakers fear a Republican boycott of future efforts to raise the debt limit will leave them exposed to political attack ads next year that accuse Democrats of fiscal laxity and disregard for mounting debt.

But Democrats in turn accused Republicans of being willing to default on their loans to the country in order to score political points.

During the Trump administration, the debt limit was raised three times with the support of Democrats, despite opposition from Republican initiatives that supported the 2017 tax-cutting law and Trump priorities such as the construction of the Southwest border wall to keep immigrants out. as was added to the government debt.

Reporting by Richard Cowan and Susan Cornwell, Additional reporting by David Morgan; Written by Susan Cornwell and Patricia Zengerle; Editing by Scott Malone and Cynthia Osterman


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