Senate votes to extend debt ceiling until early December


By Clare Foran and Ali Zaslav, CNN

(CNN) – The Senate voted 50-48 Thursday night extend the country’s debt limit until early December after Democrats and Republicans struck a deal to avert economic disaster after weeks of partisan stalemate on the issue.

The House will then need to approve the extension before it can be sent to President Joe Biden for his signature. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Thursday evening that the House would meet on Tuesday to vote on the bill.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer announced Thursday morning that a deal had been reached, paving the way for a final vote later today. An aide familiar with the negotiations told CNN that the deal was to increase the cap to $ 480 billion, which is what the Treasury Department told Congress it is expected to arrive on Dec. 3.

The announcement came a day after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell publicly launched a debt ceiling proposal, which triggered negotiations between the two parties to reach an agreement.

Both sides have made it clear that the country must not default and that even approaching it would likely have catastrophic economic consequences.

Yet while extending the debt limit helps avert immediate economic catastrophe, it does not resolve the underlying partisan deadlock on the issue. This only delays the fight until another day.

Besides, Democratic Senator Joe Manchin and several Republican senators sharply criticized a speech by Schumer as too partisan moments after 10 GOP senators joined Democrats in voting to move the bill forward.

Republicans insisted that Democrats must act alone to tackle the debt limit through a process known as budget reconciliation. Democrats argued that the issue is a shared bipartisan responsibility and that the process is too long and cumbersome and the risk of miscalculation would be too high.

This fundamental dispute persists, setting up a high-stakes showdown in early December.

Lawmakers will also have to deal with the expiration of government funding in the same time frame after recently by spending a short-term extension to avoid a shutdown that only lasts until December 3.

Ahead of the final vote Thursday night, the Senate voted to break the filibuster on the deal to raise the debt ceiling, which required 60 votes to go through. The tally was 61-38. Republican senators provided 11 votes, which, combined with those of members of the entire Democratic caucus, enabled the Senate to overcome the procedural hurdle.

After that vote, Schumer criticized Republicans in his speech for almost pushing the nation into bankruptcy and chided their handling of the issue: “The Republicans have played a dangerous and risky partisan game, and I’m glad their tip did not work. American families, for the sake of our economy, Republicans must recognize in the future that they should approach debt limit setting in a bipartisan fashion. “

“I thought it was totally out of place. I thought it was an incredibly partisan speech after we just helped them solve a problem,” said Senator John Thune of South Dakota, the GOP whip, who had helped find the Republican votes Democrats needed. to overcome the filibuster and had voted for himself despite his opposition. “I let him have it.

Manchin, a bipartisan preacher who tries to bring parties together on a number of issues, was also unhappy with the tone of Schumer’s speech, which took place on the crowded Senate floor as senators waited to vote.

“I don’t think that’s appropriate at this time,” the West Virginia Democrat said. “I know Chuck’s frustration built up, but that wasn’t the way to get rid of it. We just don’t agree. I would have done it differently.”

Battle lines drawn

As a sign that partisan battle lines remain clearly drawn, McConnell said Thursday that the deal gives Democrats more time to use reconciliation to raise the debt ceiling themselves.

He argued that this resolves “the majority’s excuse that they ran out of time” to fix it through the cumbersome budget process.

Democrats, however, have already made it clear that they have no desire to use the reconciliation process despite the extra time.

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen had warned lawmakers that the federal government would likely be cash-strapped by October 18, unless Congress raises the debt ceiling.

But Congress may not even have that long, because the deadline is more of a rough estimate than a deadline set in stone. This momentum has intensified pressure on both sides to reach a deal this week.

This story and title was updated with additional developments on Thursday.

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