WASHINGTON (AP) – Members of the House of Representatives on Tuesday pushed forward a short-term increase in the public debt limit, ensuring that the federal government can continue to pay its bills in full in December and temporarily stave off an unprecedented default that would have crippled the economy.
The $ 480 billion increase in the country’s borrowing ceiling was approved by the Senate last week in a party-line vote. The House of Representatives quickly approved it so that President Joe Biden could sign it this week. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that measures to prevent default on the country’s debt will be exhausted by Monday, and from that moment, the ministry will soon be unable to fully meet the government’s financial obligations.
A default would have enormous implications for global financial markets based on the reliability of US government debt. Regular government payments to welfare recipients, disabled people and military personnel on active duty will also be questioned.
The relief provided by the law will only be temporary, forcing Congress to revisit the issue in December – at a time when lawmakers also work to finalize federal spending bills and avoid a disastrous government shutdown. Year-end delays pose risks to both sides and threaten a stormy approach to Biden’s first year in office.
“I’m glad this at least allows us to avert an economic catastrophe that we have completely committed on our own and that can be completely prevented as we work on a long-term plan,” said Rep. Jim McGovern.
Republicans made it clear that the next debate on debt caps would not be easier, and warned Democrats not to wait for their help.
“Until Democrats give up their dream of a big government, a socialist America, Republicans cannot and will not support raising the debt limit and helping them pave the superhighway to a great society,” said Rep. Tom Cole, a Republican. Okla.
From a procedural standpoint, the House of Representatives held a one-time vote on Tuesday, which resulted in the passage of the Senate bill. This measure was adopted by party vote: 219-206.
The current standoff over the debt ceiling eased when Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, Republic of Kentucky, agreed to help get through the short-term rally. But he insists he won’t do it again.
In a letter sent Friday to Biden, McConnell said Democrats will have to deal with the next debt limit increase on their own, using the same process they tried to use to pass Biden’s massive social spending and environmental plan. Reconciliation allows the bill to go to the Senate with 51 votes, instead of 60, as is usually required. In the 50-50 Senate, Vice President Kamala Harris gives Democrats a tie-break majority.
Legislators in both parties have used the debt ceiling votes as leverage to tackle other priorities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to vote against raising the debt ceiling when President Donald Trump was in office, saying she had no intention of supporting raising the debt ceiling so that Republicans could give another tax break to the rich. And in 2011, Republicans managed to get President Barack Obama to agree to a deficit cut of about $ 2 trillion as a condition for raising the debt limit – although lawmakers later reversed some of those cuts.
Pelosi told reporters on Tuesday that over the years, Republicans and Democrats have voted against raising the debt ceiling “but never to the point of jeopardizing it.”
Pelosi said she hoped Congress would raise the debt ceiling in a bipartisan manner this December due to the associated rates. But she also passed a bill sponsored by Rep. Brendan Boyle, Pennsylvania, that would delegate the debt limit increase to Congress and place it on the Treasury Secretary, saying, “I think it makes sense.”
By focusing on the debt ceiling, McConnell has tried to link Biden’s large federal government spending growth to the country’s growing debt burden, even if they are separate, and the debt ceiling should be raised or suspended regardless of whether the Biden plan delivers $ 3.5 trillion. it is in law.
“Your lieutenants on Capitol Hill now have the time they claimed they lacked to resolve the debt ceiling through separate negotiation, and all the tools to do that,” McConnell said in a letter to the president. “They cannot invent a new crisis and ask me for help.”
McConnell was one of 11 Republicans who sided with the Democrats to push the debt ceiling deferral until the final vote. Subsequently, McConnell and his GOP counterparts voted against the final passage.
Debates over debt ceilings have at times become personal. McConnell suggested last week that Democrats are playing Russian roulette with the economy because they failed to meet the debt ceiling in the process he insisted on. Last week, he urged Pelosi to travel to Europe.
“I can only assume she hopes that the faith and merit of the United States will work out,” McConnell said.
Pelosi did not miss the shot. “Russian Roulette from Moscow Mitch. Interesting, she said.
House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, a Democrat, said Tuesday’s vote marked the 50th time President Ronald Reagan voted to extend the debt limit.
“When it comes to the debt limit, no one has clean hands,” he said.
Since the Senate bill only allowed for temporary extensions, Hoyer called it a “lousy deal.”
“And then we’re going to play this game again, a sneaky and irresponsible act for the adults who know better,” Hoyer said.
Rep. Chip Roy from Texas said he wanted to “thank” Hoyer for sharing that he had previously voted to raise the debt ceiling 49 times.
“When he entered this body, his debt was about a trillion dollars,” Roy said. “I think thank you on behalf of the people of America who are looking at $ 28 and a half trillion in debt.”
The current debt ceiling is $ 28.4 trillion. Both parties have contributed to this burden by adopting decisions that rarely make the government profitable.
Because of the disastrous effects of the default, lawmakers have been able to compromise to lift or suspend the debt cap approximately 18 times since 2002, often after frequent rounds of balancing on the brink of war.