U.S. Senate advances bill to lift debt ceiling; final passage awaited

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WASHINGTON (Businesshala) – Enough support in the Senate on Thursday to move toward passage to raise the $28.4 trillion US federal borrowing limit later this month and avoid potentially catastrophic loan defaults.

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Eleven Republicans joined all 50 Democrats in the Senate to push for a measure to allow it to continue. A vote on the loan limit increase was to follow.

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The first vote came after hours of debate on the bill, which would raise the debt limit to $480 billion — enough to cover Treasury borrowing and spending through at least early December.

If the Senate can’t agree on a move toward passage, the debate could spill over to Friday or the weekend.

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“We’ve reached agreement to extend the debt limit through early December, and it’s our hope that we can get it done as soon as today,” Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said before the vote on Thursday. can complete.”

News of the talks prompted Wall Street’s main stock indexes to end sharply higher in a broad-based rally. In a sign of relief in the bond market, yields on one-month Treasury bills fell to their lowest level since September 8 as investors believed the risk of default had eased.[.N][US/]

There were early signs of resistance from some Republicans who registered opposition to either the bill itself or the procedures for debating it.

Gaining enough Republican support to immediately move forward on the bill, No. 2 Senate Republican John Thune, told reporters “would be a painful birth process.”

If the Senate approves the bill, the Democratic-led House of Representatives will vote on the measure before going to President Joe Biden for signing into law.

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reconciliation

Washington’s debt ceiling problems are unlikely to be resolved even with the passage of a short-term increase.

Top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell is still expected to insist that the next increase in December would be achieved through a time-consuming “budget reconciliation” process that would allow passage without a vote from his party.

Doing so could strengthen Republican candidates in the 2022 congressional elections as they try to burnish their credentials as fiscal conservatives — even though most of them have previously used an array of measures passed during Republican Donald Trump’s administration. support, which reduced the US budget deficit.

Democrats have strongly rejected using the conciliation process, though they have used it to pass some of Biden’s other priorities, saying it is too cumbersome in this case and would set a bad precedent.

Referring to the deal providing debt ceiling relief until December, McConnell said in a Senate speech: “There will be no question now. They (Democrats) have plenty of time to pass the next increase using reconciliation.” Will happen”.

Democrats were trying to pass legislation that would have raised the debt limit through the end of 2022, which Republicans blocked.

Without Congressional action, the Treasury Department predicts that it will run out of ways to pay all of its bills and meet its debt obligations by October 18.

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While the deal relieves debt ceiling pressure for now, it adds to the high-stakes, partisan battle that Congress will wage through the end of the year.

Democrats want to pass two big spending bills that make up Biden’s domestic agenda in the coming weeks, including a multi-trillion dollar social policy package to be passed by reconciliation and a $1 trillion bipartisan basic Structure Bill. The Biden administration also faces a deadline for funding the government beyond December 3.

The partisan debt limit battle left Republicans fearing that Democrats might change a rule here, known as a filibuster, that required a supermajority of 60 votes to push most laws if they didn’t address the debt issue. is required.

A 50-50 split in the Senate has allowed Republicans to use filibuster to block several Democratic initiatives, although Vice President Kamala Harris is able to cast a tie-breaking vote to pass the Democratic initiative when An overwhelming majority is not required.

Biden said late Tuesday that Democrats would consider raising the debt limit and making an exception to the filibuster here to protect the economy.

Reporting by Susan Cornwell, David Morgan and Makini Bryce; Written by Richard Cowan; Editing by Scott Malone, Rosalba O’Brien and Leslie Adler

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