Senate gives final approval to debt ceiling and budget cuts package deal, sending it to President Joe Biden
The Capitol is illuminated as the Senate works into the night Thursday to finish votes on amendments on the big debt ceiling and budget cuts package. Pic/AP
Fending off a U.S. default, the Senate gave final approval late Thursday to a debt ceiling and budget cuts package, grinding into the night to wrap up work on the bipartisan deal and send it to President Joe Biden’s desk to become law before the fast-approaching deadline.
The compromise package negotiated between Biden and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy leaves neither Republicans nor Democrats fully pleased with the outcome. But the result, after weeks of hard-fought budget negotiations, shelves the volatile debt ceiling issue that risked upending the U.S. and global economy until 2025 after the next presidential election.
Approval in the Senate on a bipartisan vote, 63-36, somewhat reflected the overwhelming House tally the day before, relying on centrists in both parties to pull the Biden-McCarthy package to passage — though Democrats led the tally in both chambers.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said ahead of voting that the bill’s passage means “America can breathe a sigh of relief.”
Afterward he said, “We’ve saved the country from the scourge of default.”
Biden said in a statement following passage that senators from both parties “demonstrated once more that America is a nation that pays its bills and meets its obligations — and always will be.”
He said he would sign the bill into law as soon as possible. “No one gets everything they want in a negotiation, but make no mistake: this bipartisan agreement is a big win for our economy and the American people,” the president said. The White House said he would address the nation about the matter at 7 p.m. EDT Friday.
Fast action was vital if Washington hoped to meet next Monday’s deadline, when Treasury has said the U.S. will start running short of cash to pay its bills, risking a devastating default. Raising the nation’s debt limit, now $31.4 trillion, would ensure Treasury could borrow to pay already incurred U.S. debts.
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