US Congress Clears Measure to Avert Default, Raise Debt Ceiling by $2.5 Trillion
22:06 GMT 14.12.2021 (Updated: 20:35 GMT 19.10.2022)
The congressional votes came just one day before the December 15 deadline set by US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, who warned that, unless the debt ceiling was raised, there was a possibility that the Treasury would be left with insufficient resources to fund US government operations beyond that date.
Both chambers of the US Congress passed on Tuesday S.J. Res. 33, a piece of legislation that calls for the US debt limit to be raised by $2.5 trillion.
The US Senate cleared the measure with a 50-49 party-line vote, with US Sen. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) not participating in the Tuesday vote.
"This is about paying debt accumulated by both parties, so I’m pleased Republicans and Democrats came together," Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) remarked on the chamber floor, ahead to the vote.
The House of Representative passed the measures with a 220-212 vote.
The move, which raises the debt ceiling to some $31.5 trillion, is projected to cover US government operations through the 2022 midterm elections.
The increase also allows Washington to avoid a possible default.
"I have a high degree of confidence that Treasury will be able to finance the US government through Dec. 15," Yellen told congressional leadership on November 16.
The Treasury Secretary noted that, at the time, "there are scenarios in which Treasury would be left with insufficient remaining resources to continue to finance the operations of the US government beyond this date."
Yellen viewed the move as necessary "to ensure the full faith and credit of the United States."
Congress Warned of ‘Critical’ Need to Raise Debt Ceiling to Avoid Dire Scenario Triggered by Default
17 November 2021, 13:45 GMT
The Tuesday vote came after weeks of back-and-forth between Democrat Schumer and Republican Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who—along with other Republicans—argued that Democrats in the chamber should raise the debt ceiling on their own.
Prior to the vote, McConnell echoed the GOP position that raising the debt ceiling could lead to an increase in US government spending on costly climate and social programs.
"Later today, every Senate Democrat is going to vote on party lines to raise our nation's debt limit by trillions of dollars," McConnell said ahead of the vote. "If they jam through another reckless taxing and spending spree, this massive debt increase will just be the beginning."
The bill now heads to the desk of US President Joe Biden.