January 23, 2022

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House votes to raise debt ceiling, sends bill to Biden’s desk

The U.S. House of Representatives voted to lift the federal debt ceiling by $2.5 trillion early Wednesday and will send the bill to President Biden’s desk for final approval.

The House voted 221-209 in favor of the increase after the Senate voted to avoid a U.S. default. The votes followed months of discord on Capitol Hill. The Senate vote was also along party lines, 50-49.

Lawmakers expect the increase, which raises the debt ceiling to roughly $31.5 trillion, to last beyond the upcoming midterm elections and into 2023. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said lawmakers had until Wednesday to raise the debt ceiling or risk a potential default on U.S. obligations.

Earlier, Republicans agreed to a one-time exception to the filibuster, allowing the Democrats to pass the debt hike by a simple majority vote rather than meeting the 60-vote threshold.

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer of N.Y., speaks during a news conference after the weekly Democratic policy luncheon on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) (AP Newsroom)

“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, said on the floor ahead of the vote.

The House is expected to sync up with the Senate in a vote on raising the debt limit that could occur as soon as Tuesday. From there, the bill will proceed to President Biden’s desk for final approval.

The Senate vote followed weeks of contentious negotiations between Schumer and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. Many Republicans say Democrats should raise the debt ceiling without their help, arguing any increase will facilitate increased spending on social and climate programs the country can’t afford.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., arrives at the Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Oct. 6, 2021. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) (Associated Press)

“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 one-time exception to filibuster rules allowed Democrats to avoid raising the debt ceiling through the budget reconciliation process. Schumer said that process would be too risky and complicated.

Janet Yellen

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference, after attending the G7 finance ministers meeting, at Winfield House in London, Britain June 5, 2021. Justin Tallis/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo (Justin Tallis/Pool via REUTERS / Reuters Photos)

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McConnell faced some Republican pushback over the agreement, with GOP critics accusing the minority leader of caving to political pressure.

Fox News’ Edmund DeMarche and the Associated Press contributed to this report.