Congress Clears Bill to Raise Debt Ceiling by $2.5 Trillion, in Time for Treasury Dept. Deadline

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The House voted early Wednesday to raise the debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion until 2023, just in time for the deadline set by the Treasury Department, potentially avoiding an economic crisis.

Lawmakers passed the bill, which increases the limit to close to $31 trillion, in a 221-209 vote with just one Republican, Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), voting yes.

The Senate had previously approved the measure in a 50-49 party-line vote late Tuesday afternoon with no GOP support after months of disagreements between Democrats and Republicans, with the latter refusing to help raise the Democrats’ “out-of-control spending spree.”

The bill now heads to President Joe Biden’s desk to be signed into law, ending months of back and forth between both parties and a potential U.S. default Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned would be economically “catastrophic.

Currently, federal debt is $28.9 trillion and the latest increase to the debt ceiling is the largest in recent history. After Republicans filibustered one effort to raise the debt ceiling through normal legislative means, leaders from both parties reached a deal to temporarily extend the debt ceiling until an agreement could be reached.

Eventually, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) arrived at a deal that changed Senate rules to allow Democrats to pass the measure with a simple majority rather than the 60 typically needed to overcome the filibuster.

Schumer said the increase would take borrowing into 2023, through next year’s Nov. 8 midterm elections, which will determine control of Congress.

“As I have said repeatedly, this is about paying debt accumulated by both parties, so I am pleased Republicans and Democrats came together to facilitate a process that has made addressing the debt ceiling possible. I want to thank the Republican Leader and all my Republican colleagues who reached out across the aisle in good faith to bring us to this point,” Schumer said on the floor. 

By Katabella Roberts

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