House votes to lift debt ceiling, likely delaying default showdown until December

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The resolution will allow the federal government to cover its outstanding debt obligations by December 3.

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House lawmakers on Tuesday approved a $480 billion increase in the debt limit, deferring a potentially catastrophic US default by at least two months and triggering another demonstration on a long-term solution.

The Democrat-controlled House passed the measure in a 219-206 vote along party lines. The vote struck a chord with the Senate, which last week passed its own bill, raising the debt limit to $480 billion. President Biden is expected to sign the bill.

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The resolution would allow the federal government to cover its debt obligations by December 3. Democratic lawmakers will use the temporary relief to identify a long-term solution to raising the debt limit without Republican support.

The passage of the debt ceiling bill led to a lengthy standoff on Capitol Hill. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and business leaders warned of potential economic devastation if Congress did not approve the hike before the government ran out of money on October 18.

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Republican lawmakers promised not to help Democrats raise the debt limit, arguing that the increase would only facilitate the Biden administration’s spending programs, which they view as irresponsible. Biden and Democratic leaders have rejected that argument, insisting the increase ensures the US government can cover the debts it has already incurred.

The standalone debt ceiling bill went ahead in the House after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., quelled Republican opposition if Democrats agreed to raise the borrowing limit by a certain dollar amount to avoid a default. offered to leave. McConnell was one of 11 GOP senators who voted to clear the 60-vote filibuster threshold and allow Senate Democrats to pass the increase in a simple majority vote.

McConnell was adamant that Democrats would need to use the budget reconciliation process to achieve a longer-term debt limit increase during their deliberations on Biden’s $3.5 trillion spending bill. Democrats say using budget reconciliation would be too complicated and risky.

Tensions between the two sides escalated again last week after Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D.N.Y., delivered a scathing speech targeting Republicans shortly after the bill was passed. Schumer accused the GOP of playing a “dangerous and risky partisan game” during the debt-limit fight.

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Schumer’s remarks drew sharp criticism from Republican as well as moderate Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who was clearly angry during the majority leader’s speech.

The speech prompted McConnell to declare in a letter to Biden that Republicans would not help Democrats raise the debt limit again in December.

“In light of Senator Schumer’s frenzy and my serious concerns that another huge, reckless, partisan spending bill will harm Americans and help China, I do not favor any future effort to minimize the consequences of Democratic mismanagement. Will be,” McConnell wrote.

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With Republicans withholding further support and budget reconciliation reportedly seen as a non-starter, it is unclear how Democrats will proceed. Manchin and fellow liberal Democratic Senator Kirsten Cinema of Arizona say they will oppose any attempt to change filibuster rules to pass the loan increase by a simple majority.


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