The House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday that sets the stage to raise the debt ceiling without even one Republican vote.
The move comes as part of a convoluted deal struck by congressional leaders of both parties to allow a one-time solution to avoid federal default by letting Democrats lift the debt limit.
The deal forces Democrats to specify an exact amount the debt will be raised, and it allows them to get the measure through the evenly split Senate without risk of the Republican minority blocking the move by filibuster.
The debt limit was boosted by $480 billion in October, but that’s only enough to pay the federal government’s obligations through about Dec. 15. Tuesday’s deal paves the way for a multi-step process over several days, but appears to avoid another last minute scramble to avoid going into default.
Although there remains Republican opposition to the agreement, if it goes through as planned some GOP members view it as putting the responsibility for the nation’s growing debt on President Joe Biden and Democrats ahead of the 2022 midterms.
The first step bill that passed the House Tuesday was tied into Medicare legislation that will prevent payment cuts to doctors and other providers. Only one Republican, Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger, sided with Democrats on that measure.
The bill now goes to the Senate, and if it passes there, Democrats will then be able to vote on a separate measure to raise the debt ceiling in both Houses without any Republican support. Democrats have a tiebreaker vote in the Senate with Vice President Kamala Harris.
Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell said the deal was “in the best interest of the country.”
“I think it is also in the best interest of Republicans, who feel very strongly that the previous debt ceilings we agreed to when President Trump was here carried us through August,” McConnell, of Kentucky, said. “And this current debt ceiling is indeed about the future and not about the past.”
Senate Democratic Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the deal “a very good outcome for the American people” in a quote to The Associated Press.
“Democrats have always said that we were willing to shoulder the load at 50 votes to get this done as long it was not a convoluted or risky process, and Leader McConnell and I have achieved that,” Schumer, of New York, said.
With Post wires
Published on: Article source