U.S. Senate rushes to advance $480 billion debt limit increase

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WASHINGTON (Businesshala) – The US Senate on Thursday took a step toward passing a $480 billion increase in the Treasury Department’s lending authorization, a move that would prevent a catastrophic loan default later this month but last December. Will set up another partisan performance in the beginning.

The sun sets behind the US Capitol building on October 6, 2021 in Washington, US. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Democratic Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is aiming to hold a crucial procedural vote on Saturday that could clear the way for passing an increase in the debt limit.

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That vote could come early if all 100 members of the Senate, which are split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, agree to speed up the process.

If the legislation removes the first hurdle to limit debate on the bill, as expected, the Senate would be set to vote on raising the debt limit to $28.9 trillion from the current $28.4 trillion.

If a senator insists that all available debate time be used, the Senate’s passage could be late on a Sunday or Monday. But Schumer gave up hope of swift action.

“We have reached an agreement to extend the loan limit through early December and it is our hope that we can accomplish this as early as today,” Schumer said.

There were early signs of resistance from some Republicans.

Senator John Cornyn told reporters that “one or more” Republican senators had objected, but did not know that it would delay the passage of the bill. Cornyn said Senate Republicans were converging at a closed-door lunch to determine whether they would allow the vote to accelerate.

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.

reconciliation

Washington’s debt ceiling problems are unlikely to be resolved even with the passage of the stop-gap increase.

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell is still expected to insist that the next debt limit increase in December will be achieved through a complicated “budget reconciliation” process that is time-consuming but likely to pass without any Republican support. will allow.

Democrats strongly reject such a process for tackling debt ceilings as too cumbersome and setting 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 but Republicans blocked that effort.

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.

While the deal relieves debt ceiling pressure for now, it adds to the high-stakes, partisan battle Congress will fight 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 multitrillion-dollar social policy package and a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. It 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.

The 50-50 split in the Senate has allowed Republicans to use filibuster to block Democratic efforts to suspend debt limits as well as other initiatives.

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, Chizu Nomiyama and Sonya Hepinstall

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