House Clears Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling by $2.5 Trillion

Wednesday’s legislation was approved by the House to increase the debt limit through the next year’s midterm election. This prevents a federal default unprecedented in history just in time for the Treasury Department deadline.

With one Republican voting yes, the bill passed the House of Representatives 221-209 to raise the federal debt limit by $2.5 trillion, bringing it to close to $31 trillion.

According to congressional leaders, the new level will allow the country to meet its financial obligations until 2022 and beyond. During the debate before the vote, Democrats tried to emphasize that the debt limit hike doesn’t authorize any new spending. This was a message Democrats wanted to stress amid Republican attacks.

“I want to be very clear: raising the debt ceiling is not about incurring new debts but rather enabling the federal government to keep its existing commitments. By raising the debt limit, we are meeting our existing obligations to members of the military, veterans and recipients of Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security,” said Joint Economic Committee chairman Rep. Don Beyer (D-Va.).

Meanwhile, GOP leaders slammed the Democrats over the vote, believing the new law will promote more careless spending, as their colleagues try to advance Biden’s Build Back Better Act.

“Republicans will not support raising the debt limit while Democrats push through trillions of dollars for purely partisan political spending and thereby depleting our Treasury, not just for today, but for generations to come,” Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) stated.

The Senate passed the bill with a party-line vote of 50 to 49 on Tuesday. This was just hours before the Treasury Department set Wednesday as the deadline for the U.S. to ensure it doesn’t default on its debt obligations.

Now, the bill is headed to the White House. President Biden will sign it quickly to ensure that the nation doesn’t default on its debts.

Although lawmakers will not have to address the debt limit again before next year’s midterm election, the next fight could be in 2023 in a divided government with Biden or one of the two chambers of Congress controlled primarily by Republicans.

GOP Senators swore that they would not help Democrats raise or suspend the country’s borrowing limit. Instead, Republicans demanded that their colleagues act on the debt limit by themselves using budget reconciliation. This is the same complicated procedure Democrats use to move the president’s spending plan through the upper chamber with a simple majority and bypass a possible GOP filibuster.

However, the debt limit bill was still subject to a GOP filibuster and the deal was negotiated last week with the support of 14 Senate Republicans, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

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