WASHINGTON (AP) – President Joe Biden signed a bill Thursday that would raise the country’s debt ceiling through early December, delaying the prospect of an unprecedented national bankruptcy that would lead to economic disaster.
The House of Representatives voted to increase the country’s credit limit by $ 480 billion on Tuesday after the Senate approved a party vote last week. Final approval came after a protracted stalemate with the Senate Republicans that undid the Democrats’ initial efforts with filibusters, delays that will take 60 votes to stop.
Ultimately, a handful of Senate Republicans agreed to join the Democrats and voted to end the GOP’s delays and move to a final vote on the legislation, however Minority leader Mitch McConnell has said Republicans will not offer any support for another increase in December.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned that the US would hit its credit limit on Monday. Routine government payments to welfare recipients, disabled veterans, and active service members of the military could be delayed and the economic fallout in the US could spread to global markets.
The adoption of the short-term debt ceiling ensures that the US will continue to meet its obligations for the time being. But it represents another potential cliff at the end of the year – at a time when lawmakers will also be working to pass a federal funding bill to prevent the government from closing.
Republicans have said Democrats should use a budget maneuver to pass a debt ceiling hike without Republican support, as the Democrats are using for Biden’s massive climate change and social security network plan. But the Democrats opposed this option. The clash between the two parties leaves Congress with no clear solution to avert the next payment deadline in December, but the White House has insisted that it is still looking for a bipartisan hike.
Legislators of both parties have used the vote on the debt ceiling as a lever for other priorities. House spokeswoman Nancy Pelosi threatened to vote against raising the debt ceiling while President Donald Trump was in office, saying she had no intention of helping raise the debt ceiling to allow Republicans to make the rich to grant another tax break. And Republicans managed to force President Barack Obama to accept roughly $ 2 trillion deficit cuts as a condition for raising the debt ceiling in 2011 – though lawmakers later rolled back some of those cuts.
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