WASHINGTON – Congress averted a catastrophic debt default early Wednesday after Democratic majorities in both chambers voted to send President Joe Biden a $ 2.5 trillion increase in the nation’s borrowing powers, in lieu of sharp Republican opposition.
Ending the day of the marathon, the House of Representatives finally passed the law early Wednesday in a 221-209 near-party vote, resolving a volatile issue until the 2022 midterm elections. The action came just hours before the deadline set by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who warned last month that she was running out of wiggle room to avoid the country’s first-ever default.
“The full confidence and trust of the United States must never be questioned,” Speaker Nancy Pelosi said from the House of Representatives just before the vote.
However, the bill, voted on by only one Republican from Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger in the House of Representatives, also burdened vulnerable Democrats with a tough vote ahead of an election year when both houses will be put up for takeover.
Meanwhile, Republicans said they were baffled by the Democrats’ drive to act.
“The Democrats knew that day was approaching for two years and did nothing,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas.
Despite the seemingly straightforward name, government debt limitation does little to reduce future debt. Founded in 1917, it instead serves as a brake on spending decisions already approved by Republicans and Democrats – in some cases decades ago – that, if not paid, could harm markets, put the economy in a tailspin, and shake US confidence in the world. …
This did not stop the Republicans. For months, they have used the debt limit to attack the Democrats’ massive social and environmental plans, while vowing to strongly oppose current efforts to increase the threshold. As recently as October, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said he “will not be involved in any future effort to mitigate Democratic mismanagement.”
Nonetheless, McConnell softened his opposition with a deal last week with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, which created a workaround for Senate Democrats to approve the law with a simple majority while avoiding a Republican pirate.
“This is about paying off the debt accumulated by both parties,” Schumer, DN.Y., said Tuesday, welcoming the agreement.
McConnell’s refusal angered some in his party. But it also gave him a lot of what he wanted: Democrats taking a politically difficult vote without Republican backing increased the limit by a staggering dollar amount that is bound to appear in future attacks.
“If they slow down another increase in taxes and spending, this massive increase in debt will be just the beginning,” the Kentucky Republican said Tuesday.
Donald Trump did not like the decision.
The former president has repeatedly opposed the deal, calling McConnell a “broken old raven” who “didn’t have the courage to play the debt ceiling card that would give Republicans a total victory in almost everything.”
“GET RID OF MITCH!” This is stated in a statement by Trump released on Sunday.
Republican Senator Mike Lee of Utah also criticized the complex process that Schumer and McConnell agreed to, which he warned could be used in the future to launder potentially unpopular votes.
Under the deal, an amendment was made to an unrelated Medicare bill that was passed by a Republican vote last week. He created a one-time, fast-track process for raising the debt limit that allowed Democrats to do so with a simple majority, bypassing the 60-vote threshold, to avoid obstructing the GOP.
Lee said the process was aimed at making the Republican vote last week “appear to be something other than helping Democrats raise the debt ceiling,” which he said the Republican leadership “pledged not to do in writing.”
However, Republican arguments against increasing the debt limit often ignore inconvenient facts.
The country’s current debt burden of $ 28.9 trillion has been growing for decades. The main drivers are popular spending programs like Social Security and Medicare, interest on debt, and recent COVID-19 relief packages. But taxation is also an important factor, and a series of tax cuts imposed by Republican presidents in recent decades have exacerbated it as well.
That includes the $ 7.8 trillion accumulated over the four years of Trump’s presidency, an analysis of Treasury reports reveals. According to the non-partisan Center for Fiscal Policy, the 2017 GOP-backed tax cut will increase debt by $ 1 trillion to $ 2 trillion.