House Poised to Temporarily Raise Debt Ceiling, Avert Default
The House is expected to temporarily raise the debt ceiling in a Tuesday evening vote, averting a potential default less than a week before the U.S. was set to run out of money.
After Senate passage of a short-term deal last week, House members briefly returned from recess to vote on legislation that lifts the country’s borrowing limit by $480 billion. But the temporary fix means Congress will need to tackle the issue again in early December or risk defaulting on its debt. The new deadline will also coincide with addressing government funding by Dec. 3 to avoid a shutdown.
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Members will only need to vote once since the debt ceiling legislation is included in a rules vote containing several other bills. If they pass the rule – which is expected – then they are voting to “deem” the debt limit hike passed and won’t need to vote again on final passage.Recommended VideosPowered by AnyClipSenate agrees on two-month debt limit increase.
Senate to vote on debt ceiling, GOP vows to block
Last week, 11 Republican senators voted with all 50 Democrats to break a GOP filibuster on the debt ceiling legislation, but only Democrats voted for final passage. And once the House approves the bill Tuesday, President Joe Biden is expected to sign it into law.
Democrats initially pushed for raising the cap through 2022 but Republicans wouldn’t sign off and blocked the measure twice. But the short-term agreement, proposed by Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, only momentarily breaks the impasse and effectively delays the issue to the winter, when both parties will be forced to reconcile their differences or face a fiscal disaster.
McConnell and Republicans have opposed lending any support to Democrats on the debt ceiling even as the country faced the possibility of defaulting if Congress didn’t act by Oct. 18. Republicans still want Democrats to do it on their own through a lengthy budgetary process, which would allow them to act through a simple majority and without any GOP votes. But Democrats maintain that using budget reconciliation is a non-starter.
As the debt ceiling becomes an even more politically volatile issue, and with no clear solution accepted by both parties to address it again in December, some members are entertaining alternatives to deal with it. That includes one approach that would effectively do away with the current system, which got a nod from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California earlier Tuesday.
House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth of Kentucky and Democratic Rep. Brendan Boyle of Pennsylvania have proposed legislation that would transfer the responsibility for lifting the debt limit from Congress to the Treasury secretary. Congress, however, could vote to overrule the decision.
“That seems to have some appeal to both sides of the aisle because of the consequences to people of not lifting it. Many Democrats and Republicans have voted against lifting the debt ceiling but never to the extent of jeopardizing it,” Pelosi told reporters at Tuesday’s briefing.
While Pelosi voiced vague support for the legislation, she shifted the focus back to the current situation and urged Congress to find a bipartisan solution in the coming months. But if budget reconciliation remains off the table for Democrats, then they’re likely stuck in the same stalemate.
“I do think it has merit but in the meantime, we’re going to pass a bill today to take us to December with a hope” for a future bipartisan solution, Pelosi added.