House passes new debt ceiling, awaits Senate vote
Veering away from a default crisis, the House approved a debt ceiling and budget cuts package, according to the Associated Press. This sends the deal that President Joe Biden and Speaker Kevin McCarthy negotiated to the Senate for passage in a matter of days, before the June 5 deadline.
The compromise pleased few, but lawmakers assessed it was better than the alternative — a devastating economic upheaval if Congress failed to act. Biden and McCarthy assembled a bipartisan coalition to push to passage on a robust 314–117 vote late Wednesday.
A similar bipartisan effort from Democrats and Republicans will be needed in the Senate to overcome objections.
Overall, the 99-page bill would make some inroads in curbing the nation’s deficits as Republicans demanded, without rolling back Trump-era tax breaks as Biden wanted.
The package restricts spending for the next two years, suspends the debt ceiling into January 2025, and changes some policies, including imposing new work requirements for older Americans receiving food aid and greenlighting an Appalachian natural gas line that many Democrats oppose.
Raising the nation’s debt limit, now $31 trillion, ensures Treasury can borrow to pay already incurred U.S. debts.
Senators, who have remained largely on the sidelines during much of the negotiations, are insisting on amendments to reshape the package, but changes at this stage seem unlikely with so little time to spare.