U.S. President Joe Biden addresses the South Court Auditorium on October 1, 2021, at the White House campus in Washington DC.
Drew Anger | Getty Images
President Joe Biden on Thursday signed into law legislation to increase the nation’s debt ceiling until early December, delaying the possibility of an unprecedented federal default that would lead to an economic catastrophe.
The House passed a 80 800 billion increase in the country’s orbital limit on Tuesday after the Senate approved it in a party-line vote last week. The final approval comes after a long stalemate with Senate Republicans, who delayed initial democratic efforts with the Philibusters, a delay that requires 60 votes to stop.
In the end, a handful of Senate Republicans agreed to join Democrats and vote to end the GOP delay and go to a final vote on the law, but minority leader Mitch McConnell said Republicans would not support another increase in December.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen warned that the United States would exceed its limits on Monday, an unprecedented situation that she and others warned could lead to an economic catastrophe for a nation in the midst of a global epidemic. Regular government payments to social security beneficiaries, disabled veterans and actively responsible military personnel may be delayed and the economic downturn in the United States could spread to global markets.
Passing the short-term debt ceiling increases ensures that, for the time being, the United States will continue to fulfill its responsibilities. But towards the end of the year it sets another potential peak – at a time when lawmakers will also work to pass a federal funding bill to avoid a government shutdown.
Republicans say Democrats should adopt a budget strategy to raise the debt limit without Republican support, such as the approach Democrats are using to plan Biden’s massive climate change and social security net. But Democrats have resisted that option. Clashes between the two parties left Congress without a clear solution to avoid the next default deadline in December, but the White House insisted it was still pursuing bilateral growth.
Lawmakers from both parties have used the debt limit vote as a leverage for other priorities. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi threatened to vote against raising the ceiling when President Donald Trump was in power, saying he had no intention of backing the ceiling to enable Republicans to give the rich another tax break. And in 2011, Republicans forced President Barack Obama to cut a প্রায় 2 trillion deficit as a condition of raising the 2 billion limit – although lawmakers later reversed some of those cuts.