Congress Finally Casts Vote On Raising The Debt Limit
Congress finally held a vote on the debt limit on Tuesday, deciding to approve raising it by $2.5 trillion, to about $31.4 trillion, now sending the bill forward to President Joe Biden and prevent a massive default.
The passage of the legislation comes after a months-long standoff between the Democrats and Republicans, as the latter group was trying to force the Democratic Party to raise the debt ceiling on its own from the current $28.9 trillion level, which would produce a lot of material for the GOP to use during the 2022 midterm elections.
A deal last week between Democrat Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his Republican counterpart, Mitch McConnell, set the stage for Tuesday’s vote, bypassing normal Senate rules requiring at least 60 of the chamber’s 100 members to agree to advance most legislation. The Senate passed the bill earlier on Tuesday in a partisan 50-49 vote.
The Democrat-led House of Representatives approved the bill in a 221-209 vote.
Schumer said the increase would cover the government’s needs into 2023, through the Nov. 8 midterm elections that will determine control of Congress. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had urged Congress to hike the debt limit before Wednesday.
Under the unusual deal worked out by Schumer and McConnell, and approved by both chambers last week, legislation raising the debt ceiling could be passed this one time in the Senate by a simple majority, which meant Democrats could get it through on their own.
Republican Rep. Jodey Arrington told the House’s Rules Committee that he was very disappointed that McConnell had agreed to the deal. America’s debt level was at its highest since World War II and “we aint in a war,” Arrington pointed out.
Committee Chairman Democrat Jim McGovern responded to Arrington by saying, “I don’t normally have many nice things to say about Mitch McConnell, but I do think he understands that … not to allow this to go forward, it would be ruinous to our economy.”
The committee then voted 9-4 to bring the bill to the House floor.
“Republicans, who oppose the debt ceiling increase and control half of the Senate’s 100 seats, have tried to link the vote to Biden’s $1.75 trillion ‘Build Back Better’ bill to bolster the social safety net and fight climate change,” the report said.
“Every Senate Democrat is going to vote along party lines to raise our nation’s debt limit by trillions of dollars,” McConnell went on to say in a speech given just before the vote. “If they jam through another reckless taxing and spending spree, this massive debt increase will just be the beginning.”
“This is about paying debt accumulated by both parties, so I’m pleased Republicans and Democrats came together to facilitate a process that has made addressing the debt ceiling possible,” Schumer said.
What a mess this nation is in financially. Geesh.