Debt ceiling bill overwhelmingly passes US House
The US House of Representatives passes a deal raising the government's debt ceiling with broad bipartisan support.
The US House of Representatives passed a bill suspending the $31.4 trillion debt ceiling on Thursday with broad bipartisan support after Democrats and Republicans joined efforts to pass the bill, narrowly dodging a catastrophic default in the US.
The bill passed the House 314-117, which means the legislation has until Monday to be enacted by the Senate and signed at the Oval Office by Joe Biden, otherwise, the United States will be in trouble, as that is when the federal government is expected to run out of money.
In the wake of the bill passing the House, US President Joe Biden said the deal was "good news for the American people and the American economy," calling on the Senate to pass it at the earliest chance possible so that he could sign it into law.
This comes after a long period of uncertainty regarding the future of the country's debt situation after deliberations on raising the debt ceiling were postponed countless times due to diverging points of view.
Biden said Friday that the country was on the verge of resolving the debt ceiling issue that has been stocking concerns about the US defaulting on its debt, assuring the public regarding the then-looming crisis.
Moreover, US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the country would be defaulting on its debt on June 5 unless a deal is reached before then, saying the US had very few days before running out of money.
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Media previously claimed that the deal taking shape would include an agreement extending the government's borrowing authority for two more years, i.e., the status quo would not repeat itself before the upcoming 2024 presidential election.
In the House, the deal reached between the president and the Speaker was opposed by 71 hardline Republicans, but it was backed by 165 out of the House's 213 Democrats and 149 of the House's Republicans.
The agreed-upon bill suspends the debt ceiling, essentially the government's borrowing limit, through January 1, 2025.
The bill passing caps some government spending until the deadline while also speeding up the permitting process of set energy projects, reclaiming funds allocated for COVID-19 relief that went unused, and expanding work requirements for food aid programs to additional recipients.
The legislation was opposed by hardline Republicans because they sought further cuts - the bill would result in $1.5 trillion in savings over a decade, below the $4.8 trillion that the GOP wants - while progressive Democrats opposed it for numerous reasons, such as new work requirements from certain federal programs aimed at tackling poverty.
"Republicans are forcing us to decide which vulnerable Americans get to eat or they'll throw us into default. It's just plain wrong," Democratic Representative Jim McGovern on Wednesday.
The leaders of both parties in the Senate said they hoped to move to enact the legislation before the weekend, though complications are not unlikely. That prompted Republicans to say Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnel could need to allow votes on Republican amendments to the bill so that it could pass undisrupted.
"We cannot send anything back to the House, plain and simple. We must avoid default," Democrat Schumer underlined.