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Tuesday, October 4, 2022

Congressional Leaders Reach Agreement To Increase Debt Limit

KEVIN FREKING and LISA MASCARO

WASHINGTON (AP) – Congressional leaders reached an elaborate deal Tuesday that will allow Democrats to lift the government debt cap without any Republican votes, likely to stave off another last-minute rush to avoid federal default. A few hours later, the House of Representatives passed a law largely in line with party principles, which set in motion a multi-stage process.

In October, Congress approved a $ 480 billion increase in the government debt limit. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen predicts that this is enough for the Treasury to fund government operations until December 15th.

But Republicans have warned that they will not vote for any future debt ceiling hike so that the federal government can meet its fiscal obligations, and instead the politically unpopular measure should be passed by a fully democratic majority in both houses of Congress.

President Joe Biden has called on Republicans to “get out of the way” if they don’t help Democrats take on the debt. But instead of stepping aside and allowing a quick vote, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell helped design an unusual legislative process that will play out over the next few days. Donald Trump, the former president, ridiculed McConnell for allowing any action, showing how politically toxic the routine of paying the national accounts has become.

“I think it’s in the best interest of the country,” said McConnell, R-Kai. “I think it’s also in the interest of Republicans, who are very strongly convinced that the previous debt ceilings that we agreed to when President Trump was here extended us to August. And this current debt ceiling is really about the future, not the past. “

The agreement, set out in a House bill passed on Tuesday, sets the upcoming process for several days. In short, he would include a fast-track debt-limiting clause in an unrelated Medicare bill that would prevent any cuts in payments to doctors and other health care providers. The measure was passed by the House of Representatives with 222-212 votes, and only Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois supported the Democrats in the vote for the measure.

“Republicans in the House of Representatives cannot support the use of patients and access to local doctors as leverage to increase the public debt of our children,” said Rep. Kevin Brady, Texas.

The measure is now being passed to the Senate, and if the Medicare bill becomes law, it will open up the Senate to raise the debt ceiling through subsequent bills with a Democratic single majority.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, NY, was optimistic that the debt ceiling plan would be passed.

“This is a very good result for the American people. We will avoid a default that would be catastrophic. Democrats have always said that we are ready to take 50 votes to get this done, as long as it isn’t a confusing or risky process, and Leader McConnell and I did it. ”

The key to the agreement is that Democrats will have to vote for a specific amount by which the debt ceiling will be raised. The amount has not yet been disclosed, but it will surely be overwhelming. Republicans want to try to blame Democrats for the country’s growing debt burden and link it to Biden’s $ 1.85 trillion social and environmental bill.

“My goal is to get Democrats to raise the debt ceiling and be politically accountable for increasing debt, and that helps us do that,” said Senator John Cornin of Texas.

However, an increase in the debt ceiling is necessary to meet the financial obligations assumed by both parties in accordance with applicable law. The vast majority of them predate Biden’s presidency.

“This is about fulfilling the commitments that the government has already made, mainly during the Trump administration,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in a letter to fellow Democrats. “Only three percent of the current debt was accrued under President Biden.”

Pelosi said addressing the debt limit would prevent a sharp rise in interest rates on auto loans, student debt, mortgages and other types of borrowing for Americans.

The legislation, presented by the House of Representatives on Tuesday, provides for an expedited process in the coming days. A subsequent vote will be required to decide on an increase in the debt ceiling. Once the Senate does so, the House of Representatives will pass the bill and send it to Biden to sign the bill.

At their private dinner Thursday, Republican senators opposed the plan. Many of them will not support this.

Senator Roy Blunt, a Republican and member of the GOP leadership, said the lunch discussion went as expected – although he said the plan at least allows Republicans to achieve their goal of getting Democrats to vote on their own to raise the ceiling debt for a certain amount.

Parliamentary machinations were seen by some in the House of Representatives as an “absurd” but necessary way to deal with the Senate, where pirate rules allow the Republican minority to block action.

“We are tying ourselves to parliamentary distortion to try and help the Senate deal with this straitjacket they’ve got themselves entangled in,” said Rep. Jamie Ruskin, MD.

World Nation News Desk
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